Keletso Makgalwa was the goal hero for Mamelodi Sundowns who beat Highlands Park 1-0 in the Nedbank Cup deep in extra time.
In the build-up to the game, Pitso Mosimane said he did not wish to see his side go into extra time because his players were suffering from overload as this was their third game in about eight days. While the footballing gods decided to frustrate Mosimane with 30 extra minutes, “Jingles” had the last laugh as he reached yet another cup semifinal this season.
In regulation time, the sides went into the halftime break at loggerheads but Sundowns could have had their noses in front had the woodwork not come to Highlands’ rescue. Lyle Lakay won a freekick on the edge of the box and he stood up to take the set-piece.
He managed to play a dummy on Highlands’ wall, making them jump assuming he’d try to put it in the top corner, but the pacey winger targeted the bottom corner and unfortunately, he hit the upright.
Roundabout the hour-mark, Highlands thought they had taken the lead through Musa Nyatama, but lineman Shaun Olive flagged him for offside and cut the host’s celebration short.
The two teams continued to exchange blows, launching attack after attack and the Lions of the North were constantly looking for Peter Shalulile but Downs defenders Ricardo Nascimento and Man-of-the-Match Motjeka Madisha were on top of their game, keeping the energetic forward at bay.
On the opposite end, Tebogo Langerman unleashed a powerful shot from far out of Tapuwa Kapini’s goal. In-flight, the ball looked bound to rattle the back of the net but Kapini was up to the task and palmed Langerman’s shot to safety.
In extra time, Mosimane had to make compromises in attack and threw in youngster Nicholus Lukhubeni, deploying him as a striker, while Owen Da Gama unleashed the experienced Reneilwe Letsholonyane.
Sundowns’ next assignment is a tough Absa Premiership encounter against rivals Orlando Pirates next week Tuesday in the capital city.