Cape Town - Goodman Dlamini’s goal ensured Free State Stars lifted the 2017/18
Nedbank Cup trophy when they beat Maritzburg United 1-0 at the Cape Town
Stadium on Saturday night.
As it happened: Free State Stars v Maritzburg United
As a result of their victory, Stars are now through to next season’s CAF Confederation Cup where they will join Kaizer Chiefs.
The Team of Choice had a bright start in the encounter, but they could
not break down the Stars defence with their one-touch football in the
first 10 minutes.
Although Fadlu Davids’ men had the upper hand
in the tie towards the 20th minute, chances were few and far between in
the final third.
The Team of Choice kept Ea Lla Koto in their
own half as they had more time on the ball, yet could not beat
goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni.
However, Dlamini netted for Stars on
the stroke of halftime against the run of play. United failed to clear
the ball and he beat Richard Ofori with a neat finish from close range -
1-0 to Ea Lla Koto at the interval.
The resumption of the
second half saw United coming back with intent of securing an equaliser,
but defender Rooi Mahamutsa remained stable at the back for Stars to
block Bandile Shandu’s effort.
In the 61st minute, Fortune
Makaringe was instrumental for the Durban side, yet their efforts could
not yield the desired results.
Towards the 70th minute, United
protested for a penalty when Nyiko Mobbie looked like having handled the
ball in the box, but referee waved play on.
With two minutes to
go, United continued to pile pressure on Stars’ defence and they
survived when Shandu tried an overhead kick denying Andrea Fileccia an
obvious header into the net, the acrobatic effort went over the cross
The dying stages of the tie saw United fighting to bag an
equaliser, but they were not incisive in their decision making and
allowed Stars to clear their lines and walked away as 2017/18 Ke Yona