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Sundowns Survive Penalty Scare to Reach Nedbank Cup Semis

  • April 12, 2024
  • 2 min read
Sundowns Survive Penalty Scare to Reach Nedbank Cup Semis

Mamelodi Sundowns avoided an upset on Friday, edging University of Pretoria 4-2 on penalties in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

The match remained deadlocked at 1-1 after extra time, forcing a penalty shootout.

Marcelo Allende, Lucas Ribeiro Costa, Mothobi Mvala, and Peter Shalulile converted their spot kicks for the continental giants. Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams emerged as the hero once again, making two crucial penalty saves.

Tuks put up a valiant fight, with Thabiso Mokoena, Kaketso Majadibodu, and Abrahams scoring their penalties. However, history wasn’t on their side. Sundowns had never lost to the University of Pretoria side, boasting a record of eight wins and one draw in their previous meetings.

In fact, during their 2015/16 championship season, Sundowns had thrashed Tuks 3-0 with a hat-trick by Anthony Laffor.

Following the victory, CAF president Patrice Motsepe joined the jubilant Sundowns fans who flooded the TUKS Stadium pitch.

The Brazilians started strong, with Costa curling a beautiful shot into the net from the edge of the box in the eighth minute, leaving coach Mokwena in awe. However, Tuks responded with an equalizer in the 32nd minute through Abrahams, who capitalized on a knockdown by Kamohelo Pheane.

This wasn’t the cakewalk many predicted for Sundowns. The university side denied them space to play and build attacks from the back, forcing uncharacteristic errors.

Despite dominating possession, Sundowns were frustrated by Tuks’ resolute defense. The Pretoria side remained disciplined throughout the match, keeping it clean against a team undefeated in the league.

Coach Mokwena attempted to change the game’s pace around the hour mark, introducing Thembinkosi Lorch and Sirino in place of Neo Maema and Thapelo Morena. He later brought on Siyabonga Mabena and Peter Shalulile for Themba Zwane and Aubrey Modiba, but the substitutions failed to produce the desired effect.

Mabena injected some life into the attack, attempting to break down the well-organized Tuks defense with his dribbling and combination play. The crowd cheered him on whenever he received the ball.

In the dying seconds of extra time, Lorch missed a golden opportunity after skillfully turning his marker. This left coach Mokwena visibly frustrated.

The match ultimately went to penalties, where Williams’ heroics secured a semi-final berth for Sundowns.

Picture courtesy of Mamelodi Sundowns

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