Real Kings score late winner to KO Mbombela United in Nedbank Cup
CAPE TOWN – Real Kings knocked out Mbombela United with a last-gasp 2-1 win in their Nedbank Cup Last 16 round match at the KaNyamazane Stadium, in Mbombela, Mpumalanga on Saturday afternoon after the teams were level-pegging at 1-all at halftime.
This National First Division (NFD) derby seemed headed for extra time but in the final seconds of three minutes of added injury time, super-sub Diego Brown banged the ball into the roof of the opposition's net after Mbombela failed to deal with a goalmouth cross from near the left corner flag.
The teams entered the fray without any form on record after each were on a five-match winless stretch in the NFD. The visiting Kings were the favourites because of their 8th place on the log as against Mbombela's lowly 15th slot.
Hosts Mbombela took the initiative from the outset and set off on early sorties into the Kings half. They did not create scoring chances, but they fired speculative long-range shots which were well off target.
Kings opened the scoring in the 15th minute through former Milano striker Lesvin Stoffels who latched on to lengthy upfield kick before unleashing an angled cracking drive after he shook off the attentions of the Mbombela defence (1-0).
Mbombela were awarded a close-in free-kick which was well struck by Felix Badenhorst but it was turned away for a corner.
Just after the 25th water break, Mbombela upped the ante and suddenly the Kings defence looked suspect. First Mbombela forced a corner and then they were fractionally wide of the target on two occasions.
In the 33rd minute, Mbombela's pressure took its toll as Phetolo Sekome grabbed the equaliser after an attractive build-up on the back of slick inter-passing which created openings in the Kings defence (2-0).
Most of the first-half play was confined to the central areas of the field after passes often went astray close to the penalty areas. Also, the holding midfielders were often in the game as the bumpy surface made passing hazardous at times.
Mbombela finished the first half strongly but were unable to capitalise on the half-chances that emerged in the closing stages.
In the opening 15 minutes of second-half play, Mbombela imposed themselves on the match and Hugo Nyamé, Kings' goalkeeper, did well to save deflect two powerfully struck shots. Kings made life difficult for themselves as they were hesitant in clearing their defensive lines.
In the 66th minute Mbombela midfielder Neo Marks, well up with the play in the opposition penalty area, should have scored but he skied his effort plumb in front of goals.
After this let-off Kings managed to switch the action to the opposite end of the field where Mbombela goalkeeper Luzuko Jevuka did well to deal with two scoring efforts in quick succession.
As the match approached the end of regulation time both teams were presented with scoring chances, but poor striking efforts suggested the contest was headed for extra time until substitute Brown scored in the dying seconds of added injury time.
African News Agency (ANA)