The game could have gone either way, says Maritzburg coach Tinkler
Cape Town - Stellenbosch FC exited the Nedbank Cup after losing 5-4 on penalties to Premiership rivals Maritzburg United at Athlone Stadium last night. The match ended 2-2 after extra time.
The men from the Winelands twice had the lead during the first half through midfield maestro Mpho Matsi and then forward Lelethu Skelem, but surrendered their advantage before the break following Thabiso Kutumela's brace for the visitors.
The second stanza saw both sides battle to match the intensity of the first 45 minutes, as no further goals were scored, resulting in the last 32 tie going into extra time.
Another two halves of 15 minutes delivered few threats for both goalkeepers, the match went to penalties.
After being level at 4-4 after the first round of five penalties, the Team of Choice prevailed in the sudden-death shootout, with defender Kwandakwensizwa Mngonyama making no mistake to put his side through to the last 16.
For Stellies, their exit could be a blessing in disguise as they can now focus their efforts entirely on the league that sees the top-flight rookies not too far away from the relegation zone.
“I was not displeased with the performance, just disappointed with the result,” said Stellies coach Steve Barker. “Now we concentrate our efforts on our league campaign. Credit to Maritzburg and good luck to them in the next round. We had a chance to go 3-1 head through Ryan Moon at the top of the formation and the game is ours to lose.”
United coach Eric Tinkler felt both sides could have won it.
“We are happy to go through but it could have gone either way to be brutally honest,” he said. “We didn’t start very well, we took risks with our build-ups and conceded the first. We came back well, got the equaliser and then we fall behind again from a long throw because we are not well-organised in defence.
"But I thought our second goal was really what we done on the training ground; the combination play, the penetration was excellent. We started to improve here after this… But like I said, this game could have gone either way.”