Mamelodi Sundowns’ Uruguayan-born duo Gaston Sirino and Mauricio Affonso ran the show in the Telkom Knockout final against Maritzburg United at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where the Brazilians came back from behind to win the league cup by 2-1.
Affonso scored twice with his head from Sirino assists but before the Uruguayans turned on their magic, Maritzburg had the ball rolling and making Downs chase shadows for most of the first-half.
Mosa Lebusa and Denis Onyango were the villains in the first half for Masandawana as their lack of communication, or rather poor communication between the man in between the sticks and the centre-back went for the same ball and that error presented the lethal Judas Moseamedi with an opportunity to pounce and the on-form striker made no mistake.
Moseamedi chipped the ball out of reach of Onyango and the puzzled Lebusa to fire the Team of Choice into the lead in the 39th minute. Maritzburg went into the half-time break with their noses in front but the Brazilians managed to level matters not long after the restart.
After a couple of misdirected and intercepted passes in the first stanza from the skillful Sirino in search of his countryman Affonso, Sirino eventually found the Downs target man in the 54 minute with a pin-point cross from down the left flank. The lanky Affonso easily beat United’s defenders on the spring and he connected to head home the equalizer.
While both sides fielded what were arguably their best available starting line-ups, they had an abundance of quality on the bench and Maritzburg coach Eric Tinkler was the first to make a move when he introduced Deolin Mekoa for the industrious Daylan Claaasen, who squandered a glorious opportunity to give United an early lead inside the opening two minutes.
15 minutes from referee Jelly Chavani’s final whistle, Sundowns striker Affonso completed his brace to hand Downs their first domestic cup since 2015 where they beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 at the same venue in the same competition. Masandawana marksman, Sirino, was again the provider, this time from the corner-kick and Affonso powered in with another header.
However, there was a dramatic finale to the game when Moseamedi thought he had found the equalizer in stoppage time but Chavani’s assistant flagged the Maritzburg man offside and Downs saw through their victory.