The capital city was once again brought to standstill as the Loftus Stadium played host to the first Tshwane derby of the season, where Mamelodi Sundowns continued their fine form as they thumped their cross town rivals, SuperSport Untied in a thrilling 3-1win in the MTN8 quarterfinal.
Both teams came at the back of midweek defeats, and the jury was out to bounce back immediately. Sundowns were tipped as favorites to see off their crosstown rivals, as they have not lost to SuperSport in the last five meetings.
As expected, Mosimane made a host of changes, as he ringed nine changes from the team that started in the midweek loss away to Eynimba, and also handed full debuts to Brazilian-born defender Ricardo Nascimento, along with marquee signing Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Referee Daniel Bennett dished out the first yellow card to defender Morgan Gould as early as the seventh minute when the 33-year-old stood in the way of Denis Onyango when the Ugandan tried to release the ball.
It was Wayne Arendse who gave Masandawana the lead in the 17th minute when SuperSport failed to clear a corner.
A sign of concern for Mosimane came when Leonardo Castro was stretched off the field in the 20th minute, and was subsequently replaced by Percy Tau four minutes later, who was named Man-of-the-Match. Star player Keagan Dolly failed to increase the lead when the 23-year-old failed to hit the target after exquisite football work by Khama Billiat in the 34th minute.
It was moment of tactical brilliance for Stuart Baxter who withdrew misfiring striker Bradley Grobler in the 41st minute, and unleashed Kingston Nkhatha who towered over Arendse and Nascimento to put matters on level, in what was effectively his first touch just under two minutes on the pitch.
Captain Hlompho Kekana tried to release one of his rockets, but his efforts were parried by Ronwen Williams in the hour mark. On the opposite end of the pitch, Onyango went down again in the 63rd minute in what looked like a pulled hamstring, but the gallant Ugandan soldiered on.
Nkhatha continued to be a menace to Matsantsantsa a Pitori’s defence when he turned Siyanda Zwane inside-out, and played a square ball to Jeremy Brockie, who agonizingly missed the target.
Sundowns restored the lead courtesy to a Kekana cracker after the skipper powerfully half-volleyed a Dolly cross. No later than four minutes, PSL Player-of-the-Season Khama Billiat sealed the win with a stunning curler that left Williams with no chance.
The semifinal draw was held immediately after match, top-eight debutants Chippa United are home Sundowns, while Soweto giant killers Cape Town City will travel to Bidvest Wits.