Absa Premiership

Maritzburg book spot in Nedbank Cup semis

2018-03-31 18:11
Andrea Fileccia (Gallo Images)

Pietermaritzburg - Maritzburg United booked their spot in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals after a nervy 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In a proper cup-tie, Lebohang Maboe opened the scoring inside 26 seconds, but Jacky Motshegwa levelled matters with a heavily deflected goal in the final 15 minutes.

However, with nine minutes remaining, Andrea Fileccia won the game for the Team of Choice who reached their second cup semi-final this season.

The hosts flew out of the blocks, going ahead in the opening minute after Fileccia's ball was deflected into the path of Maboe, who squeezed the ball into the far corner beyond Kabelo Dambe from six yards out.

Maritzburg continued to dominate, but found clear-cut chances difficult to come by. That was until the midway point of the half when Bandile Shandu should have doubled their lead after a long Richard Ofori ball from the back, but he instead curled it against the crossbar.

On the half-hour, Lucky Baloyi's powerful shot forced Ofori to turn the ball wide and from the resulting corner, Ronald Pfumbidzai's header bounced off the ground and onto the bar as Maritzburg escaped.

Shandu's cross from the right forced goalkeeper Dambe to make a brave low save under pressure from Fileccia, and before the break the lively Pfumbidzai then dragged across the face of goal as United again escaped.

After the break, Deolin Mekoa twice was put through into promising positions - first offering a weak cross that rolled straight to the goalkeeper, before his free shot from 16 yards out was deflected wide by via some brave Celtic defending.

At the other end, Roggert Nyundu shot poorly across the face of goal. Kabelo Dlamini then forced another outstanding save from Ofori after 64 minutes when his free-kick had to be acrobatically diverted wide by the big Ghanaian.

And Dlamini should have then fired the visitors ahead when the ball was squared to him in the box, although this time his effort was somehow blocked by Motsie Matima.

Celtic's persistence was finally rewarded in the 76th minute as Motshegwa's heavily deflected strike beat Ofori following a needlessly-conceded corner by Rushine de Reuck that was taken by Deon Hotto and caused mayhem in the box.

But five minutes later the KZN outfit were back ahead when a finely threaded pass by Maboe picked out Fileccia, who drilled in low beyond Dambe.

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