Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor


Mamelodi Sundowns – the Road to the Nedbank Cup final

Sundowns had a few nervy moments but buy now have a shot at the league and cup double.


Mamelodi Sundowns have a chance to seal a league and cup double on Saturday, as they take on Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup final at Mbombela Stadium.

Masandawana can even lay claim to a potential treble, having also won the Caf African Football League towards the end of last year, to go with the DStv Premiership, which they won for a seventh successive season, finishing a ridiculous 23 points ahead of Pirates.

The efforts of Rulani Mokwena’s men in reaching the Nedbank Cup final is even more commendable, given the amount of football they have played this season. Sundowns also reached the semifinals of the Caf Champions League, while their players also made up the majority of the Bafana Bafana team that won the bronze medal at the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.

Here, Phakaaathi takes a look at exactly how Sundowns booked their meeting with Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

Road to the Final

Last 32

NB La Masia 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 6

Sundowns began their Nedbank Cup quest by cruising past Westbury-based Motsepe Foundation Championship side La Masia at the Dobsonville Stadium.

Gaston Sirino has been a bit-part player for Sundowns this season, but he had a starring role here, grabbing a hat-trick, including the opening goal, a well-taken finish in the 18th minute.

Argentine Matias Esquivel doubled Sundowns’ lead with a curling free kick, before Terrence Mashego burst clear of the La Masia defence to make it 3-0 inside the first half hour.

Daine Klate’s La Masia were handed a lifeline when Marcelo Allende’s clumsy challenge got them a penalty and Fuad Johnson fired home in the 37th minute.

Just two minutes after that, however, Lebo Maboe ran clear and unselfishly squared for Sirino to grab his second.

Maboe got his own goal five minutes after the break while Sirino completed his hat-trick and made it six of the best in the 70th minute.

Last 16

Mamelodi Sundowns 2 Maritzburg United 0

Mamelodi Sundowns were given a tough game by Maritzburg United in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup, with it taking them until the 74th minute to break through a stubborn Team of Choice.

It was Thembinkosi Lorch who ultimately made the difference, latching onto Bongani Zungu’s pass and smashing a brilliant shot high into the net to break the deadlock.

Lorch, who joined Sundowns in January from Orlando Pirates, was also on hand in stoppage time to steer home a close range finish and seal Sundowns’ place in the quarterfinals.

“Lorch has to do more,” a demanding Rulani Mokwena said after a game played in stormy weather.

“All of them have to do more. I asked for more at half time, but I think we played well even the first 18 minutes before the weather condition, I think we were playing well.

“I’m happy with the performance and to be honest, I am very happy we are in the next round.”

Quarterfinal

University of Pretoria FC 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 1 (Sundowns win 4-3 on penalties)

University of Pretoria dragged Sundowns right to the wire in this Nedbank Cup quarterfinal, with Peter Shalulile’s penalty in the shootout finally ending the Motsepe Foundation Championship side’s brave resistance.

Sundowns seemed set for an easy passage to the semifinals when Brazilian Lucas Ribeiro curled a beauty into the top corner in just the eighth minute, but TUKS came storming back and a Samuel Julies free kick was headed across goal for Delano Abrahams to fire the underdogs level.

The game went all the way to penalties and while Gaston Sirino missed for Sundowns, both Thokozani Sekotlong and Singnkhi Mphedi failed to score for TUKS, leaving Shalulile to (only just) fire the winning penalty past Edward Maova.

Semifinal

Stellenbosch FC 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 2

An in-form Stellenbosch were looking to get to a second cup final this season as they took on Mamelodi Sundowns at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Steve Barker’s side were, at that time, in second place in the DStv Premiership and had won the Carling Black Label Knockout, beating TS Galaxy on penalties in the final in December.

Sundowns, however, came into the game as Premiership champions-in-waiting, and having just hammered Kaizer Chiefs 5-1 at FNB Stadium. And Rulani Mokwena’s side too the lead in the 11th minute, Lucas Ribeiro finding Khuliso Mudau, who lashed a shot past Sage Stephens at his near post.

Iqraam Rayners was unlucky to see a first half effort ruled out by a very tight offside flag, as Stellies pushed for an equaliser. But it was Sundowns who struck next, Thembinkosi Lorch heading his third goal of the tournament past Stephens.

Peter Shalulile then blasted a penalty over the bar, before two Stellies substitutes combined, Antonio Van Wyk setting up Genino Palace, who beat Ronwen Williams to set up a nervy finish. But Sundowns hung on to reach their own second cup final of the season.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.