POLOKWANE – Baroka FC put in one of their best performances of the season to see off Mamelodi Sundowns with a 2-0 victory in a Telkom Knockout quarterfinal game at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A 22nd minute penalty from Mduduzi Mdantsane and an own goal 22 minutes from time by Downs keeper Reyaad Pieterse, saw Bakgaga through to a deserved win against a visiting team that rarely posed much threat in front of goal, despite their star-studded line-up and array of riches on the bench.
Sundowns did start brightly, looking good with their movement and crisp interplay, with Lebohang Maboe particularly impressive. However, as has been the case for much of this season, there was no end product.
Baroka, currently second from bottom on the league table, had showed little threat going forward. But they were gifted the chance to go in front when Mosa Lebusa was penalised after Talent Chawapiwa's header had struck his arm, in what was a debatable call by referee Victor Gomes.
Mdantsane stepped up for the spot kick and took it with composure as he sent Pieterse the wrong way.
The Brazilians looked to play themselves back into the game, but apart from a couple of half chances for Gaston Sirino and an Andile Jali ball which nearly picked out Toni Silva, there was little threat to the home side's goal.
The visitors continued to enjoy more of the ball after the interval, and were very unlucky not to be back on level terms in the 53rd minute when Sirino had a goal ruled offsides.
Instead, Sundowns were to suffer a sucker punch in the 68th minute when Matome Kgoetyane's cross was deflected goalwards by Lebusa, before a wrong-footed Pieterse turned the ball into his own net with his outstretched fingers.
The hosts nearly added a third goal just three minutes later when a weak back-pass from Jali allowed Kgoetyane in, but after lobbing Pieterse, the ball landed on the roof of the net.
This meant that Masandawana were still in with a chance and it took a fantastic diving save by Baroka keeper Elvis Chipezeze to keep out an 83rd minute shot from Aubrey Ngoma that had top-corner-of-the-net written all over it.
However as things transpired, the Pretoria team never looked like making a comeback and they could have lost by a larger margin were it not for an excellent save from Pieterse to deny Kgoetyane before Tebogo Sodi had a goal ruled offsides and another shot blocked on the line, deep in added time.
African News Agency (ANA)