Cape Town - Maritzburg United overcame a numerical disadvantage and the weather to reach the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Royal Eagles at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Sunday.
A fairly dour affair was lit up by the dismissal of Bevan Fransman in
the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half.
However, the sending-off failed to dent the prospects of the hosts
and they went ahead two minutes later when Deolin Mekoa finished from
Mame Niang levelled in the 72nd minute after Siyanda Xulu conceded a
penalty, but the defender made amends by heading in the winner a minute
The match, the first ever all-Pietermaritzburg derby, will be
remembered more for the hour-long delay caused by lightening in Durban.
Play looked unlikely to continue during the delay, before the officials
eventually opted to continue.
Before that the Team of Choice did most of the pressing and could
have been ahead inside the opening six minutes when Mekoa rattled the
right post with a powerful effort from outside the box.
Mohau Mokate had another fine chance inside the opening 15 minutes
after he was put through by a lovely Lebohang Maboe pass, but Hugo Nyame
was on hand to make a sharp save.
There were no other talking points until stoppage time at the end of the first half with two coming within the space of minutes.
First Fransman was sent off in the first added minute after picking
up a second yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Joshua Sauls, before
the goal arrived two minutes later.
Siphesihle Ndlovu wriggled his way past his man on the right and
crossed low across the face of goal, where Mekoa was on hand to slide
the ball in.
It was 1-0 at the break and after the restart. Philani Cele had a
good chance to draw level but instead drew a brilliant save from Richard
Ofori, forcing the goalkeeper to tip over from a tight angle on the
Eagles did make it all-square in the with just under 20 minute to
play when Xulu was adjudged to have fouled Lesego Manganyi and Niang
stepping up to bomb in the penalty.
After an hour-long delay because of the weather, the match resumed
and Eagles looked stronger in the closing minutes - Mpho Mvelase almost
winning it when he curled against the crossbar from distance.
But a set-piece in the penultimate minute of play settled the tie as
Mekoa's corner was powerfully headed in by Xulu as Maritzburg went