SuperSport United confirmed their place in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout after beating Martizburg United 2-0 at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday evening.
Maritzburg United, an impressive force under Ernst Middendorp this season, faced a SuperSport United side which had only been able to win one game the entire season in open play.
But SuperSport put their goalscoring nightmares to bed with strikes from Thabiso Nkoana in the 73rd minute and Sibusiso Zuma in the 77th.
An attack-minded Martizburg United took the early initiative during the game, with Delron Buckley continuing to look impressive and governing their midfield.
But it was SuperSport who had the first real chance in the 13th minute when Kermit Erasmus headed just wide at the near post after receiving a pinpoint cross from George Maluluke.
The game ebbed and flowed in the opening period with SuperSport edging possession and chances. Maritzburg were hit by an injury during the first half, with Rheece Evans coming on for Peter Petersen in the 29th minute.
Erasmus was once again threatening in the 27th minute when he created space in the box following a mazey run and a quick turn. His right footed shot was well saved by Maritzburg goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters, who dived to his right to turn the low fizzing shot around the near post.
Erasmus seemed destined to open the scoring following his impressive display in the first half and he came close in the 35th minute after some neat play outside the box. He controlled a pass on his chest after running into space in the box, but his strike could not find the target.
Maritzburg United created a fantastic opportunity in the 40th minute when Mohammed Awal powered down the right wing beating two defenders with neat footwork and sending in a dangerous cross which set up Mario Booysen.
Booysen climbed higher than his markers but did not time his header and it flew across the face of goal.
The game slowly began to open up in the beginning of the second half with both sides applying pressure with their pace and attack minded players.
SuperSport created the best chance of the game in the 70th minute as Moffat Mdluli found Thabiso Nkoana with a superb through ball but the striker could not connect his strike and it fell safely into the arms of Shu-aib Walters.
Nkoana did not miss his second opportunity only minutes later as he put SuperSport into a deserved lead.
Kermit Erasmus’s impressive performance was capped off with an inspirational piece of play in the 73rd minute.
His powerful run through the central midfield was followed by a crucial through ball which Nkoana met with a classy chip over Walters. The ball could not be cleared by Maritzburg United’s desperate defenders and it was 1-0 SuperSport.
It did not take long for SuperSport to put the game to rest as Sibusiso Zuma sealed their passage into the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout in the 77th minute.
George Maluleka provided a delightful chip over Maritzburg’s defensive line which substitute Zuma received and rounded Walters in the box, slotting the ball home for a second goal in a matter of minutes for SuperSport.
SuperSport continue their impressive cup form this season and will certainly eye the final Telkom Knockout prize after their dominant win in Pietermaritzburg.