Sizwe Mdlinzo of TS Galaxy is challenged by Willard Katsande and Aro Adrianarimanana of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2019 Nedbank Cup Final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN – TS Galaxy scored deep into stoppage time on Saturday to stun Kaizer Chiefs and win the Nedbank Cup final in Durban on Saturday evening.

It was Zakhele Lepasa, on loan from Orlando Pirates, who delivered the deadly blow for the National First Division club that did not exist this time last year. Galaxy therefore became the first side from the National First Division to lift the Nedbank Cup, and next season will see them campaigning in Africa. 

Both teams were tactically astute in the first half 20 minutes. Neither side wanted to commit to challenges in the early stages of the clash. As a result there were no clear cut chances created.

Khama Billiat tried to test Ludwe Mpakumpaku in the Galaxy goal from distance, but his attempt went wide. That opportunity came after Kabelo Mahlasela was fouled outside the box and Willard Katsande pushed the ball in the path of Billiat, who shot wide. 

Amakhosi didn't allow Galaxy to play their normal game which was all about keeping possession of the ball. They pressed them high and ensured that they couldn't create any meaningful chances, and the minnows from Limpopo couldn't find their rhythm.

Dan Malesela made an early substitution when he sacrificed Thembinkosi Mbamba and introduced Sinethemba Ngidi.

Amakhosi nearly found the back of the net with the last kick of the ball in the first half. Billiat played an exquisite pass between the Galaxy center-backs. There was no call from Galaxy goalkeeper Mpakumpaku, but Terrence Mashego did well to read the danger and clear the ball as the NFD side survived the scare. 

Chiefs came out invigorated in the second half, seemingly determined to break the deadlock. They continued to create opportunities, but Mpakumpaku and his troops at the back stood firm.

Lepasa who fired Galaxy into the final following his well taken brace against Lamontville Golden Arrows in the semi-finals started on the bench, but entered the big stage on the hour-mark. He replaced Tshepo Chaine. 

Galaxy contained Amakhosi, but they didn't trouble Bruce Bvuma between the sticks.

Mpakumpaku was also not threatened as much as Chiefs dominated the ball possession. He was only called to duty during the set-plays. 

The winner nearly came from an unexpected source when Katsande find himself with space, but he ballooned his effort over the bar. Mpakumpaku failed to deal with Parker's delivery from the right-hand side, and the ball fell to Katsande, who tried to execute an audacious bycle-kick, but to no avail.

Teenage Hadebe and Daniel Cardoso fouled Lepasa in the box with two minutes to go, and the referee pointed to the spot. Lepasa dusted himself and converted the penalty to win the cup for the NFD minnows from Limpopo.

@Minenhlecr7

IOL Sport