It took a penalty shootout for TUT, who were a man down, to go through to the final after the scores were level at 1-1 after 90 minutes on Thursday night in Pretoria.
It was a slow start at the packed TUT Stadium on Thursday night. The visitors, CUT, seemed to be creating better chances at goal in the early stages of the game. The TUT side did have a few of their own goal scoring opportunities but nothing materialised in the first quarter of the game. It was a physical contest that saw both sides going into the referee’s book and receiving a few verbal warnings.
It took 33 minutes for the home side, TUT, to register a goal through captain, Themba Ndlovu after some sloppy defending in the CUT box. The CUT side came close to replying immediately after a powerful long-range shot from Sello Mokhathi sailed over the crossbar.
With just six minutes of play remaining in the first half, TUT suffered a major setback when they were forced to play with one man less as Lebogang Phatlane was ordered off for a reckless challenge on Sizwe Ngoma. The visitors were awarded a penalty just two minutes later but TUT keeper, Sikhumbuzo Ncube, pulled off a brilliant save to deny Taole Rakgomo. It was 1-0 to TUT after the first 45 minutes.
The visitors kept knocking at goal in the second half, but Ncube pulled out all the stops to keep a clean sheet. CUT’s Sello Mokhathi had a lot of close attempts at goal from his powerfully driven shots from long range, but could not keep them low enough to hit the back of the net.
CUT’s attempts were finally rewarded in the 83rd minute when Sizwe Ngoma redirected another shot from Mokhathi to send Ncube the wrong way. The game could not be decided in open play, as the final score was 1-1.
It was up to the penalty takers to ensure an entry into the finals, and it was CUT who got the first one in when Morena Lehloa converted from a retake due to the infringement from Ncube, moving off his line before the kick. TUT’s Thabang Makgwane’s miss put the defending champions under pressure as they had to catch up to CUT throughout the round. Both teams were level at the end and the shootout was pulled to sudden death. Vusi Sibiya took the last shot to take TUT to the final after a miss from CUT’s Neo Sebudi.
FNB Player of the Match: Sikhumbuzo Ncube (TUT)
Samsung Best Shot: Winston Manopole (CUT)
TUT: 1 (6)
Goals: Themba Ndlovu
CUT: 1 (5)
Goals: Sizwe Ngoma
TUT: Sikhumbuzo Ncube, Rorisang Rapelang, Tlotlo Mothibedi, Vusi Sibiya, Tumelo Mphela, Lethabo Mashifana, Tebogo Lekaba, Thabang Makgwane, Keabetswe Mokwena, Lebogang Phatlane, Themba Ndlovu ©
Subs: Kgaratlo Phatsoane, Steven Mvenya, Lehlogonolo Letshwene, Mogau Mphahlele, Thabaiso Lebitso, Boipelo Molale, Kagiso Sole.
CUT: Ntsane Kabi, Morena Lehloa, Neo Sebudi, Fanyana Nkosi, Wesley Ledibane, Sello Mokhati, Karabo Mojafi, Mpho Molatswe, Sizwe Ngoma, Keitumetse Mabathoana ©, Rakgomo Taule.
Subs: Tshiya Sikisi, Gomolemo Rampai, Sello Monokoane, Sello Mokhele, Katleho Molakeng, Tsietsi Ramosedi, Winston Manopole.
By Thabani Magubane