Rustenburg - Platinum Stars will have a chance to defend their Telkom Knockout crown in the final of the 2014 edition after defeating Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Sunday.
Eleazar Rodgers’ second-half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides and Allan Freese men will now meet SuperSport United in the final later this month.
Denis Onyango was one of three changes made by Pitso Mosimane to the side that beat AmaZulu in the quarterfinals with Teko Modise and Lebohang Mokoena also included from the onset.
Freese, meanwhile, kept faith in the same starting XI that beat Kaizer Chiefs on penalties in the last eight with Rodgers leading the line against his former side.
Sundowns dominated the early exchanges of the encounter, but were finding it difficult to break down a resolute Dikwena defence who had kept the Amakhosi at bay for 120 minutes in their semifinal clash.
At the other end of the park Robert Ng’ambi forced Onyango into a save in the 16th minute. The Malawi international did well to hold off his marker before turning and shooting straight at the Ugandan gloves man.
The Brazilians though continued to do most of the attacking, but were unable to convert a handful of corner-kicks as they pegged Stars deep into their own half.
Stars were looking increasingly dangerous on the counter while Ng’ambi sent an effort just wide in the 38th minute.
Sundowns, though, should have had the lead at the break, but Khama Billiat was unable to convert on the stroke of halftime.
Ramahlwe Mphahlele picked out the diminutive Zimbabwean, but he somehow directed his header wide of Siyabonga Mpontshane’s goal from point-blank range.
Rodgers opened the scoring five minutes into the second-half.
The former Santos marksman outpaced Mario Booysen to reach a through ball before looking up and firing past Onyango to grab a memorable goal against his former employers.
Mosimane introduced Mame Niang and Ejike Uzoenyi before the hour mark as he looked to swing thing in his sides favour.
Niang almost had the desired impact as Teko Modise’s long ball was spilled into the path of the lanky marksman, but he could only succeed in lobbing his effort over the crossbar with 62 minutes on the clock.
The visitors continued to press forward, but Stars held firm to book their place in the final and hand them the opportunity to defend their title.
The game ended on an even worse note for ‘downs were reduced to ten men in the 88th minute when Tebogo Langerman was shown his second yellow card and handed his marching orders.
Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Rodgers 50’)
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 0
Platinum Stars : Siyabonga Mpontshane, Tshepo Gumede, Vuyo Mere, Luvolwethu Mpeta, Thabiso Semenya, Letladi Madubanya, Tintswalo Tshabalala (Mahlatsi Makudubela 85’), Robert Ngambi (Sibusiso Msomi 92’), Solomon Mathe, Ndumiso Mabena (Marothi Diale 59’), Eleazar Rodgers.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Dennis Onyango, Mario Booysen, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thabo Nthethe, Tebogo Langerman, Elias Pelembe (Miame niang 56’), Hlompho Kekana, Khama Billiat (Katlego Mashego 73’), Lebohang Mokoena (Ejike Uzoenyi 56’), Teko Modise, Cuthbert Malajila.