Maritzburg United supporters will be holding their breath ahead of their team's first TKO Final. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

DURBAN - Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United will battle for the honour of being crowned 2019 Telkom Knockout champions when they meet at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

On their way to the final, Sundowns have beaten AmaZulu (5-0 at home), Chippa United (2-2 draw away, 4-3 winners on penalties) and Golden Arrows (2-1 away).

The Brazilians are three-time champions in the Telkom Knockout, with their most recent triumph arriving in 2015. Last year they suffered a surprise defeat in the quarterfinals at the hands of eventual competition winners Baroka FC.

Maritzburg, meanwhile, will be appearing in their first TKO final. The Team of Choice’s path to this point has seen them beat both Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park on penalties (after 1-1 home draws against each team) before ousting ‘Cup Kings’ Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the semi-finals, thanks to a brace from Judas Moseamedi.

Both teams come into the match in winning form. Sundowns were in action just this midweek, claiming a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Stellenbosch in a league clash on Wednesday, with goals from Themba Zwane, Sphelele Mkhulise and Keletso Makgalwa.

Maritzburg, meanwhile, will have the advantage of three extra days rest and preparation leading into the final. Their last outing brought a 1-0 away win at Polokwane City in a league clash on December 8, with Yusuf Jappie scoring the decisive goal for the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Maritzburg have met in five previous cup meetings. The Team of Choice has claimed three outright wins compared to two for the Brazilians. The KwaZulu-Natal club was victorious when the teams last met in a knockout match, the semifinals of the 2018 Nedbank Cup, as they claimed a 3-1 triumph.

Overall, the teams have met in 32 league and cup matches since 2005/06 and ‘Downs have dominated the rivalry, claiming 20 wins compared to six for United.

The Brazilians were on the winning side when the teams last met, in an Absa Premiership clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium back in September, with goals from Gaston Sirino and Lyle Lakay for the hosts, while the visitors struck through Siyanda Xulu. 

African News Agency (ANA)