CLERMONT – National First Division outfit TS Galaxy stunned Lamontville Golden Arrows 3-1 on Saturday as they matched into the final of the Nedbank Cup.
They followed in the footsteps of Mpumalanga Black Aces, Pretoria University and Black Leopards, who all reached the Nedbank Cup final while campaigning in the NFD.
Galaxy denied Steve Komphela an opportunity to take a step closer to win his maiden piece of silverware.
The final of South Africa’s premier Cup competition will be staged at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on May 18.
Both teams didn’t create any meaningful chances in the first half. Galaxy dominated possession, as was expected, but lacked the killer instinct in the final third.
Arrows were seating back and waiting for Galaxy to come into their territory, and try and hit them on the transition.
They were looking to utilise the pace of Knox Mutizwa and Lerato Lamola upfront. Max Mbaeva and Ludwe Mpakumpaku were on a holiday in the first half as they were hardly tested between the sticks.
Mutizwa tested Mpakumpaku with a curling free kick outside the box, but the Galaxy goal-minder made a comfortable save after the interval.
Velemseni Ndwandwe had an off day, and Komphela sacrificed him and introduced Sanele Mathenjwa.
Komphela wanted more urgency and tenacity in the final third, as Arrows were lacking fluidity and finesse in attack.
Danny Venter wasn’t as influential as he has been since Komphela took over the coaching reins.
Knox Mutizwa broke the deadlock for Abafana Bes’thende from the penalty spot in the 71 minutes.
Bathusi Aubaas brought down Mathenjwa in the box, and Luxolo Badi penalised the visitors.
Mutizwa, who has been a source of inspiration for Abafana Bes’thende in this competition, converted the penalty with aplomb.
Mathenjwa should have killed the game off with a second goal after receiving a telling pass from Lamola, but fired his shot over the bar.
Galaxy continued with their tactic of building from the back, running into spaces and penetrating into the wider channels.
Nation Ndlovu fluffed a glorious opportunity to level the matters. He was spotted by Sinethemba Ngidi, who came off the bench.
It was a cut-back from the right-hand side, and all Ndlovu needed to do was to pick a spot – but he had other ideas.
Galaxy were piling on attack after attack in their search for an equaliser, but poor execution and decision-making led to their demise.
Mutizwa was denied by the post in the last minute of the game.
A minute later, Galaxy also hit the post. It was a well taken free kick by Tshegofatso Nyama, but the post denied him.
Sandile Zuke netted an own goal to hand Galaxy a late equaliser. It was a result of pressure from the Mpumalanga-based side.
Zakhele Lepasa produced a moment of magic, playing a lovely one-two with Ngidi and unleashing a thunderbolt to beat Mbaeva.
It was a well worked goal by Galaxy. Lepasa completed his brace with another rocket in the dying minutes of extra time.@Minenhlecr7