Maritzburg United underlined their growing stature when they came back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw in an MTN8 first leg semi-final clash against SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night.
SuperSport were on top for most of the first hour and took the lead soon after the restart through Thuso Phala, before Fadlu Davids’ team stormed back in the final 20 minutes to claim the equaliser in the 85th minute through Lebohang Maboe.
It was the home side which posed more of a threat up front throughout most of the first half, and there were early chances as Bradley Grobler and Clayton Daniels both drew saves out of visiting keeper Bongani Mpandle.
There was another opportunity in the 26th minute for the Tshwane team when Morgan Gould powered his way into the box at a corner kick and sent a header over the crossbar.
Maritzburg battled to penetrate the SuperSport defence and their best moment of the first half came on 30 minutes when Maboe accelerated past a couple of defenders before slashing a 25-yard shot wide.
Matsatsantsa could have opened their account five minutes later when a blistering counter-attack culminated with Phala picking out Grobler, but his header provided a comfortable save for Mpandle.
The deadlock was broken eight minutes of halftime when Phala finished clinically with an angled shot into the far post after he was played in by Dove Wome.
Wome had the ball in the net himself on the 60 minute mark when he turned and fired into the bottom corner, but the effort was ruled off-sides in what looked a very marginal call.
The KZN side got some momentum going in search of an equaliser, but SuperSport keeper Ronwen Williams made a brilliant save to keep out Sheldon van Wyk before Deolin Mekoa’s free kick skimmed the bar.
However, Maritzburg had their all-important away goal just six minutes from full time when following a throw-in, Maboe was afforded space in the box which allowed him to smash home a left-footed drive into the far corner of the net.
The Team of Choice will fancy their chances of reaching their first-ever cup final when they host Matsatsantsa at their home fortress in two weeks’ time.
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