Cape Town — Junior Dion’s goal earned Marumo Gallants a place in the semi-finals of this season's Nedbank Cup as they downed Baroka FC 1-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Just when the game looked on course to become the first 0-0 draw in the Nedbank Cup this season, Dion gave Gallants the lead in the 79th minute.
The goal came after Monde Mphambaniso dinked a ball forward, finding Dion who produced a well executed finish into the net.
There were no goals in the first half but Gallants had the better of the chances. With one eye focused on their relegation battle in the league, Baroka were seemingly content to sit back and also rested a number of players.
Gallants had their first chance of the game in the 15th minute as a cross from the right found itself towards Joseph Malongoane but Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze read the danger well as he went off his line and cleared.
Baroka had a chance in the 19th minute as midfielder Bennet Bobete got his technique wrong and failed to get near the target.
The closest chance for either side in the first half came in the 24th minute as Lerato Lamola found Malongoane. Malongoane got past a defender and looked like he would have been clean through on goal before Vusi Sibiya produced some good defensive intervention to get the ball away.
Gallants coach Dan Malesela would have been frustrated by the fact that Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo and Lehlohonolo Nonyane were both guilty of missing free-kicks from promising positions in the first half.
After coming on in the second half, Evidence Makgopa added quality to Baroka’s attack and created two good opportunities for his side but on both occasions, Sipho Maluluke was unable to convert when the opportunity fell to him.
The bulk of the current Gallants players are the same ones who won the Nedbank Cup last season as part of their former club Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila whose top-flight franchise Gallants bought ahead of this season. They will be backing their chances of retaining the cup this season.
Meanwhile, the elimination from the cup is not a major blow for Baroka as they can now focus more energy and effort onto their survival battle in the league this season.
Baroka will next be in action next Tuesday night as they host Orlando Pirates at the Peter Mokaba Stadium. Gallants host Swallows FC next Sunday afternoon.