Andrea Fileccia blows kisses to the crowd after scoring the winning goal for Maritzburg United during their Nedbank Cup Last 32 match against Bloemfontein Celtic. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Maritzburg United (1) 2

Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1

The dream is on for Maritzburg United in their bid to land their maiden piece of silverware. 

The Team of Choice continued on their fairy-tale run this season as they rolled past Bloemfontein Celtic by 2-1 in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinal showdown at Harry Gwala Stadium to secure their place in to the semi-final of the competition. 

This is their second semi-final appearance this season as they gallantly succumbed to SuperSport United in the semi final of the MTN 8 earlier in the campaign. 

The Team of Choice is currently third on the log and are just two games away from history. 

AmaZulu were the last team from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to reach the final in 2010 but were thumped 3-1 by Bidvest Wits. 

Usuthu, Manning Rangers and African Wanderers are the only other teams in KZN to make Nedbank Cup final appearances since it inception from 1971.

Amazulu have lost six Nedbank Cup finals while Wanderers were the runners-up on two occasions while Rangers were beaten by Moroka Swallows in 2004.

Maritzburg signaled their intentions early when they broke the deadlock in the first minute through Lebohang Maboe.

The Team of Choice looked settle at the back even without the services of their experienced trio of Bevan Fransman, Brian Onyango and Pogiso Senoka. 

Fransman and Senoka were suspended while Onyango was out injured. 

United boss Fadlu Davids went with the make shift defence of Rushine De Reuck, Bokang Tlhone and Siyanda Xulu. 

Maritzburg should have doubled their lead after 25 minutes as Bandile Shandu hit the post  following a well timed pass from Andrea Fileccia. 

Richard Ofori pulled out a great save to deny Lucky Baloyi who unleashed the thunder-bolt from the range after 36 minutes. 

From that resulted corner kick Ronald Pfumbidzai hit the post with his head after a well taken set piece by Deon Hotto. 

The game was played at swift pace with both sides attacking and Maritzburg went to the interval leading by the solitary strike from Maboe. 

United got the second half off to a frenetic pace with Shandu, Delion Mokea and Maboe causing all sort of problems for Celtic. 

Mekoa was denied by Kabelo Dambe after 52 minutes as he tested the Botswana internationally from range but he made a decent diving save. 

Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic made three changes in his search for the eqauliser in the second half. 

He brought in Ndumiso Mabena, Jacky Motshegwa and Tshegofatso Mabasoin the place of Aphiwe Lubisi,  Roggert Nyundu and Baloyi. 

Motshengwa made an instant impact as he netted an eqauliser on the 77th minutes. 

The eqauliser re-energised United but Fileccia netted the winner on the 80th minute, he showed class and composure to beat Dambe on his far post followed a lovely pass from the chief tormentor Maboe. 

United will know their semi final opponent tomorrow (Sunday) as the the draw will be conducted in Cape Town after the game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City. 


IOL Sport

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