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Maritzburg Send Wits Packing On Penalties

Telkom Knockout Last 16

Teams: Maritzburg United 1-1 Bidvest Wits (Maritzburg won 3-1 on penalties)

Date: 18 October 2019

Venue: Harry Gwala Stadium

Maritzburg United became the first side to advance to the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals after defeating Bidvest Wits on penalties at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

Maritzburg head coach Eric Tinkler gave second-choice goalkeeper Bongani Mpandle a rare start in goal ahead of regular shot-stopper Richard Ofori, while Kwandakwensizwa Mngonyama returned in the line-up. Meanwhile, Wits were unchanged from their last win over Chippa United.

The Team of Choice had a glorious chance to go ahead inside the first minute of the match after Thabiso Kutumela raced clear on the right side of the boxto pick out Mxolisi Kunene, whose shot  was brilliantly saved by shot-stopper Ricardo Goss.

The game picked up instantly thereafter and the Clever Boys also had their chances but the United defence was firm at the back, including Mpandle, who was agile and alert to keep the visitors at bay.

Gavin Hunt's troops  had the momentum in the latter phase of the first stanza but they could not find the final pass in the last third, while the Team of Choice barley tested Ricardo Goss at the other end in the opening 45 minutes.

The opening exchanges of the second stanza were just as quick as the opening of first stanza and Wits eventually broke the deadlock two minutes before the hour-mark thanks to Dzvukamanja, who sent glancing header past Mpandle.

However, Maritzburg were awarded a penalty immediately after the restart after a cross by Deolin Mekoa appeared to hit Zitha Macheke's arm in the box. Kutumela stepped up and hit a well taken spot-kick to restore parity for the home side.

Macuphu almost snatched the winner for the Clever Boys in the last five minutes with an over-head kick that sailed agonisingly wide of the wide, which ultimately sent the game to extra-time.

The encounter stretched from end to end in the early stages of extra-time, but Hunt was forced to withdraw goalscorer Dzvukamanja after the Zimbabwean had a thigh strain in the 13th minute of extra-time and he was replaced by Gift Motupa.

However, neither side could find a winning goal in the latter stages of extra-time, forcing the encounter into a penalty shoot-out where Mpandle was the hero by making three saves as Maritzburg triumphed 3-1 on the night.

Here's how they lined up:

Maritzburg: 30. Mpandle, 25. Xulu, 43. Mngonyama, 5. Morgan, 23. De Reuck, 2. Allie, 36. Kunene, 26. Shandu, 14. Claasen, 7. Kutumela, 10. Brockie.

Subs: 31. Ofori, 3. Sanoka, 9. Moseamedi, 29. Mekoa, 9. Augusto, 12. Nyoni, 26. Sangweni.

Wits: 23. Goss, 3. Hlatshwayo, 8. Monare, 10. Domingo, 11. Hotto, 13. Hlanti, 15. Mkhwanazi, 17. Alexander, 24. Macheke, 28. Macuphu, 37. Dzvukamanja.

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