DURBAN – Maritzburg United made history by securing their maiden cup final on Sunday afternoon when they defeated Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in the semi-final of the Nedbank Cup.
The Team of Choice ended Sundowns’ 15-match unbeaten run, and they will now meet Free State Stars in the final at the Cape Town Stadium on May 19 (7pm kickoff).
AmaZulu were the last team from KwaZulu-Natal to reach the final, and they were demolished 3-0 by Bidvest Wits back in 2010.
United are looking to become the first team from KZN to win the Nedbank Cup. AmaZulu, Africa Warriors and Manning Rangers reached the final in the past, but were runners-up.
Lamontville Golden Arrows were the last side to bring joy to the people of KZN when they humiliated Ajax 6-0 in the final of the MTN8.
Sundowns were on a roll, and it seemed like there would be no stopping them in the form they were in, but United came from behind to clinch victory on Sunday.
They are now one game from playing in the Caf Confederation Cup and pocketing R7 million.
Gaston Sirino broke the deadlock as early as the second minute, and this was his first goal in South Africa.
The stadium was packed to capacity with the ‘Yellow Nation’ singing as always.
Sundowns were always looking dangerous whenever they were on the final third.
Themba Zwane fluffed a glorious opportunity to increase his side’s lead as he ballooned the rebound save made by Richard Ofori, who did well to deny Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Minutes after that miss, Lebohang Maboe levelled matters for the Team of Choice after a good one-two with Fortune Makaringe.
The game was balanced and went into the interval at 1-1.
United did well to keep the mercurial Percy Tau quiet in the game. He grew frustrated and began to take shots from distance.
Sirino was denied by Ofori after 69 minutes, when the Ghanaian made a fantastic diving save to keep his side in the game.
Sirino received two cautions in a space of two minute,s and was showed his marching orders.
The Uruguayan will miss the next two matches against Maritzburg United on Wednesday in the league and another Premiership clash against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday.
Mxolisi Kunene came in as a substitute and netted the second goal for United with five minutes to go.
Makaringe ensured that United will be playing in the final come May 19 with a well-taken goal.
Sundowns will now shift their focus to wrapping up the league title. They are six points clear at the summit.