SUNDOWNS SINK MARITZBURG TO CLINCH TKO TITLE

Uruguayan striker Mauricio Affonso scored a brace as Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Maritzburg United 2-1 to win the Telkom Knockout final at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening.

The result sees the Brazilians seal their fourth League Cup title and a first since 2015, as they came from behind to defeat the Team of Choice, who were TKO final debutants and looked on course for a maiden major trophy after Judas Moseamedi’s first-half strike.

Maritzburg missed out on a great chance in the early minutes when a loose ball resulting from a collision between Sundowns’ Mosa Lebusa and Denis Onyango fell kindly for Daylon Claasen, but the midfielder struck his effort wide of a virtually open goal.

The match then reverted to what one would expect of a cup final, as both teams went into their shell somewhat and genuine scoring chances were hard to come by as a result.

‘Downs gradually asserted control of possession as the game wore on, and they were unlucky to be denied a penalty just after the half-hour mark when Thapelo Morena was clumsily brought down in the 18-yard area.

Just when Sundowns appeared to be turning the screw, Maritzburg broke up the other end and claimed the opener in the 40th minute.

A long ball was allowed to bounce all the way through to the ‘Downs penalty area, but before either Lebusa or Onyango could deal with it, the speedy Moseamedi stole in to poke the ball beyond the goalkeeper’s reach and give the Team of Choice a 1-0 lead.

Maritzburg held their lead up to halftime and for nine minutes of the second stanza before Sundowns hit back: Gaston Sirino’s cross was headed home by compatriot Mauricio Affonso, who just got ahead of United goalkeeper Richard Ofori to make it 1-1.

Affonso completed the turnaround in favour of the Brazilians by putting them 2-1 up in the 74th minute. The striker again demonstrated his aerial prowess, heading home from a corner kick with an effort which gave Ofori no chance of a save.

United created a fine chance to equalise with five minutes of regulation time to play when Kwanda Mngonyama played in Bandile Shandu, but Onyango did well to come quickly off his line and cut down the attacker’s hopes of a goal.

The KwaZulu-Natal team was left angered in injury time when Moseamedi netted with a stooping header from close range, but his goal was controversially ruled out for offside in what appeared to be a debatable decision.

Maritzburg United (1) 1 (Moseamedi 40’)

Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 2 (Affonso 54’ 74’)

Maritzburg: Ofori, Morgan, Allie, De Reuck, Mngonyama, Kunene, Buchanan, Claasen (Mekoa 69’), Shandu (Augusto 85’), Timm (Kutumela 79’), Moseamedi

Sundowns: Onyango, Morena, Madisha, Lebusa, Langerman, Mkhulise (Ngcongca 87’), Kekana, Jali, Zwane, Affonso (Makgalwa 85’), Sirino

Supplied