African Warriors marched onto the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup with a 4-1 win over Maluti FET College on penalties after the match ended 2-2 at the Charles Mopeli Stadium
The Nedbank Cup clash between the two Qwaqwa-based teams, African Warriors and Maluti FET College kicked off at the Charles Mopeli Stadium, and both sides attacked each other from the first whistle.
Maluti started positively, and created their first chance of the game inside the first five minutes, although captain Lucky Mokoena’s poorly taken shot couldn’t trouble Warriors keeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
The home side looked to apply their experience against Maluti with Brice Aka upfront and Lynch Pule in the midfield. Pule, a former Maritzburg United player, had his shot off target in the 7th minute in what was Warriors’ first real opportunity.
The NFD side heavily relied on their wingers, but it was Pule who steered the midfield with some great distribution of the ball. Brice Aka broken through from the left wing in the 22nd minute and played the ball to Joel Mosotho inside the box, but the Warriors striker blasted his shot over the bar.
Warriors continued to threaten Maluti goals and Thulasizwe Ndlovu swung in a deep cross from the right, but Aka headed wide as the game approached the half hour mark. The home side should have taken the lead in the 31st minute when Ndlovu won possession on the edge of the box, but he shot straight to Maluti FET keeper Mohlolo Khuse.
Khuse produced a fantastic save in the 36th minute, diving to his left to deny Brice Aka what would have been Warriors’ first goal. The visitors nearly penetrated the Warriors defence but poor decision making in the final third cost them an opportunity to score the opening goal.
However, Maluti FET kept attacking as they searched for that important goal before half time and they finally broke the deadlock in the 40th minute when Malefetsane Rankati bravely finished with an easy tap in against his former team, to make it 1-0 to Maluti FET College going into the break.
African Warriors started the second half with more determination and pace. They dominated possession from the restart, and should have equalized two minutes into the second half when Ndlovu found himself unmarked with only Khuse to beat, but he ballooned his shot way over the bar in what looked easier to score than to miss.
Warriors continued to dominate possession and it was Kamohelo Mabuya who equalized for the home side in the 61st minute when he scrambled past Khuse to make it 1-1. Maluti found themselves a goal down five minutes later when Brice Aka met Thulasizwe Ndlovu’s cross inside the six yard to make it 2-1 to the delight of Warriors fans.
Mashale Rantabane then brought Charles Mopeli down to his feet with a breathtaking header to level the matters in the 71st minute. African Warriors 2-2 Maluti FET College. Both sides looked firm at the back, as they didn’t want to concede in the dying minutes of the game. Rantabane’s goal proved vital as Maluti held firm and forced the game to extra time.
The home side started where they left off, although it was clear that fatigue is catching up with them. The first real opportunity of extra time fell to Warriors when Sibusiso Mdamba was forced Khuse to a brilliant save in towards the half time. The Maluti keeper again came to the rescue by making himself big to deny Mosotho who should have restored Warriors’ lead going into the second half of extra time.
Ndlovu continued to trouble Maluti defence with his pace and skill, and his shot was easily saved by Warriors keeper Mohlolo Khuse in the 111th minute. The NFD side made some poor decision in the final third, as Aka was tightly marked by Maluti defence and he was substituted in the 118th minute after he sustained an ankle injury. Maluti FET College should thank keeper Mohlolo Khuse who denied Warriors on several occasions, as the match had to be determined by penalties.
Joel Mosotho slotted home the first penalty to give Warriors an advantage, but Lucas Mpenze equalized with a low shot. Mzwandilw Khwela restored the advantage as he beat Khuse with a low shot to his right. It was Siyabonga Mbatha who produced the first save of the penalties giving Warriors the space to breath. Ndlovu immediately made it 3-1. Maluti substitute Moholo blasted his penalty over the bar before Sibusisio Mdamba converted to make it 4-1. Warriors are now into the quarterfinals of the 2013 Nedbank Cup.