Maritzburg United's players celebrate Judas Mosemaedi winning goal during their Telkom Knockout semi-final clash against Kaizer Chiefs at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

MBOMBELA – Judas Moseamedi took Maritzburg United to the promised land on Saturday, scoring a brace at Mbombela Stadium to take his team to the final of the Telkom Knockout at the expense of Kaizer Chiefs.

The Team of Choice will take on Mamelodi Sundowns in the final at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 14. 

Maritzburg should have comfortably won this match but they made a meal of it, allowing Chiefs back in a contest where Amakhosi were outplayed in every department. Moseamedi’s brace, with Yagan Sasman’s goal in between, has ensured that Maritzburg bounce back dramatically after they were almost relegated last season. 

The Team of Choice secured their status in the play-offs in May. Seven months later they will be fighting for the league cup.

Both Chiefs and Maritzburg were without key personnel for this important clash. Chiefs were without Daniel Akpeyi, Khama Billiat and Eric Mathoho while Maritzburg did battle without Kwanda Mngonyama, Siyanda Xulu and Phumlani Ntshangase. The Team of Choice showed more depth and ability to make do without the trio by putting in a dominant display.

In fact, the disappointment from the Team of Choice was that they only scored two goals. They should have buried Amakhosi such was their dominance. Bruce Bvuma’s performance in goal and Maritzburg’s wasteful nature were the reasons for the slender win.

The visitors took the lead in rather fortuitous fashion after a defensive blunder from Chiefs’ Daniel Cardoso. The centreback fumbled what should have been a simple clearance from a long ball by Maritzburg with Moseamedi breathing down his neck. The burly forward powered his way to pickpocketing the ball, rounding off Bvuma before firing the visitors ahead. The goal inspired Maritzburg who then put pressure on Amakhosi who had started the match on the front-foot and were controlling proceedings.

Even though Chiefs had most of the ball, Maritzburg created the better chances and looked like they would score almost every time they attacked Bvuma’s goal. The slippery pitch made it hard for the players, especially when they were in motion. But when it came to Moseamedi, it felt like he was playing on a different pitch.

The side from the KwaZulu-Natal capital fought tirelessly against a Chiefs team that hasn’t won a trophy in the last four seasons. Maritzburg have never won a trophy in the PSL era and went into this match having only made one cup final before – the 2017 Nedbank Cup. In December they will make it two.  

Keagan Buchanan, Miguel Timm and Daylon Claseen bossed the midfield, creating a good buffer for the defence and giving the attackers confidence in their marches forward. Maritzburg toyed with Amakhosi, making life difficult for Cardoso and his defensive partner Yagan Sasman.

While Cardoso and Sasman were under the cosh, Maritzburg’s Rushine de Reuck was as solid as a rock. The centreback snuffed all the danger out of Chiefs. But even De Reuck couldn’t stop Sasman. The Chiefs’ defender pounced on a rebound from Samir Nurkovic’s header that goalkeeper Richard Ofori parried onto the path of Sasman. 

Chiefs’ supporters found their voices after the goal and Maritzburg were almost made to pay for their wasteful nature when they had the upper hand. Moseamedi was the main culprit for those missed chances. He made amends when he scored late to take Maritzburg to the final in Durban.

IOL Sport