Downs into Nedbank Cup final
Pretoria - Mamelodi Sundowns defeated 10-man Free State Stars 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night to secure a place in the 2012 Nedbank Cup final.
The Brazilians were handed the game on a plate when Stars’ Dove Wome earned an early red card, allowing the hosts to rack up two quick goals through Richard Henyekane and Nyasha Mushekwi before cruising through the rest of the match.
They will face either SuperSport United or AmaZulu (who face off in the second of the semi-final in Polokwane on Sunday afternoon) in the final at Orlando Stadium on May 26.
The first notable incident in the match arrived in the 20th minute and it proved to be its defining point. Wome stamped down on Esrom Nyandoro’s knee in an act of blatant violent conduct, leaving referee Jerome Damon no choice but to show the Togolese forward a straight red card.
Sundowns soon took advantage of their numerical superiority, as on 26 minutes Richard Henyekane scored from close range. The credit for the opening goal really belonged to Nyasha Mushekwi, who did all the hard in work in setting it up by providing a perfect low cross from the left flank.
Just past the half hour mark Mushekwi made it 2-0, finding space in-between Stars’ centre-backs before sweeping home a pin-point pass from left-back Punch Masenamela to put Mamelodi Sundowns very much in charge of the match.
The Zimbabwean striker thought he had added to his side’s advantage just five minutes later when he steered another shot beyond the reach of Mweene, but he was flagged offside. Television replays suggested it was the correct decision from match officials.
Teko Modise very nearly scored the Brazilians’ third goal just a couple of minutes before half time, but a superb reaction save from Mweene ensured the score remained at 2-0 heading into the interval.
The Zambian ‘keeper came up with another terrific stop on the hour mark, this time to deny Henyekane, while a couple of minutes later Stars had their first shot in anger when Paulus Masehe pulled the trigger from long range but saw his effort skew high and wide of the target.
That was all the visitors offered in attack, even though coach Steve Komphela introduced an extra attacker off the bench in the shape of Boitumelo Sekgobela. Sundowns easily saw out the match to book a place in the final of a competition they last won in 2008.