Mamelodi Sundowns edged out Lamontville Golden Arrows 2-1 in the 2019 Telkom Knockout Cup semifinal match at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont, Durban on Saturday afternoon.
The victory saw the three-time champions advance to the final where they will face either Kaizer Chiefs or Maritzburg United on December 14, while Abafana Bes’thende bowed out of the tournament.
Abafana Bes’thende’s defence was put under pressure by Masandawana, who were playing crosses into the hosts’ box.
Sundowns deservedly took the lead through their inspirational captain Hlompho Kekana, who had missed the team’s Absa Premiership defeat to Arrows two weeks ago.
The veteran midfielder headed home Lyle Lakay’s free-kick which beat Arrows goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda hands down to make it 1-0 to Sundowns in the 11th minute.
Lakay came close to doubling Masandawana’s lead five minutes later when his low shot from range went inches wide of the target.
Before Sibanda punched away Gaston Sirino’s free-kick on the half-hour mark as Pitso Mosimane’s pushed for their second goal of the match.
The Zimbabwe shot-stopper was beaten for the second time in the 36th minute when an unmarked Sirino scored at the near post to make it 2-0 to Sundowns.
Sundowns were deservedly leading 2-0 during the halftime break.
Arrows were the better side after the restart with Sundowns coach Mosimane having made two forced changes during the break replacing injured duo of Denis Onyango and Kekana.
The hosts were wasteful as Ntsako Makhubela and Danny Phiri both missed the target in the first 15 minutes of the second-half.
Arrows pushed for their first goal of the match with Komphela having introduced attacking midfielder Nduduzo Sibiya.
Masandawana keeper Kennedy Mweene was called into action with 13 minutes left on the clock and he made a great save to deny Michael Gumede.
Arrows’ late pressure then paid off when Knox Mutizwa set-up Sibiya, who scored with a low shot at the far post to make it 2-1 with nine minutes left on the clock.
Sundowns then suffered another blow when they were reduced to 10 players in the 84th minute after Sirino was shown a red card after making a dangerous challenge.
However, the visitors were able to contain Komphela’s men in the dying minutes of the match and ultimately, Sundowns emerged 2-1 winners on the day.
Arrows (0) 1 (Sibiya 81′)
Sundowns (2) 2 (Kekana 11, Sirino 36′)
Arrows: Sibanda, S. Dube, Sibisi, Mathiane, Nkombelo (Lunga 46′), Phiri, Parusnath (Sibiya 68′), Shitolo, Makhubela, Mtshali (Gumede 69′), Mutizwa.
Sundowns: Onyango (Mweene 46′), Langerman, Lakay, Madisha, Jali, Kekana (Mabunda 46′), Lebusa, Morena, Mkhulise, Sirino, Affonso (Ngcongca 80′).