Baroka FC 1-0 Bidvest Wits: Mabeba fires Bakgaga into the Telkom Knockout Cup final
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Matome Mabeba fired Bakgaga into their maiden Cup final with a thunderous free-kick

Baroka FC secured a 1-0 win over Bidvest Wits in the 2018 Telkom Knockout Cup semi-final match which was played at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.

Bakgaga had booked their place in the last four after securing a surprise 2-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns at home in a quarter-final encounter earlier this month.

Wedson Nyirenda named an unchanged starting line-up as he kept the same team that faced Lamontville Golden Arrows in a PSL match which Baroka won two weeks ago.

The Clever Boys had progressed into the semi-finals by beating Maritzburg United 2-1 away in a quarter-final encounter earlier this month.

Gavin Hunt made only one change to the team that faced Bloemfontein Celtic in a PSL match which Wits lost a fortnight ago. 

Lehlohonolo Nonyane made his return to the starting line-up - replacing fellow defender Robyn Johannes, who was serving his suspension.

Baroka were seeking vengeance against Wits, who had defeated them on their way to winning last season's Telkom Knockout.

The hosts showed their hunger in the opening stages of the encounter and they deservedly broke the deadlock just eight minutes into the match.

They were awarded a free-kick in a promising area and Matome Mabeba stepped up, and fired home from the set-piece to make it 1-0 to Baroka.

The goal did not come as a surprise as Bakgaga had scored most (25%) of their goals in the first 15 minutes of the game in this year's Telkom Knockout.

The Clever Boys tried to respond with a goal, but the hosts looked dangerous on the counter-attack with Mduduzi Mdantsane looking lively in midfield.

Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet had to pull off two good saves to deny Tebogo Sodi and Mabeba as Bakgaga pushed for their second goal.

Baroka then sat back and they contained the visitors until the match referee Victor Hlongwane blew the half-time whistle.

The score was 1-0 to Baroka at the interval.

Hunt made the first change of the game prior to the start of the second half as the Clever Boys looked to restore parity.

Striker Gift Motupa, who was on the books of Baroka last season, replaced an ineffective attacking midfielder Deon Hotto.

The visitors piled pressure on the Bakgaga defence and they managed to create chances which they failed to convert.

Haashim Domingo missed the target from a free-kick in a promising area before Motupa fired wide of the target from a close range.

The defending champions were left vulnerable at the back when they pushed forward in numbers and they were nearly punished by the home side.

Second half substitute Ranga Chivaviro dribbled past two defenders, before setting up Mdantsane, who somehow missed the target from close range with Keet well-beaten.

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Nyirenda then introduced Letladi Madubanya, who is a defensive midfielder by trade, as the hosts looked to contain Clever Boys in the closing stages of the game.

Ultimately, Baroka emerged 1-0 winners over Wits after containing the visitors, who were unable to grab a late equalizer.

The victory saw Bakgaga advance to the final where they will face Orlando Pirates at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on December 8, while the defending champions Wits crashed out of the tournament.

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