Telkom Knockout Fixtures 10.11.2014 08:27 am

Eleazar Rodgers goal downs Brazilians

Eleazar Rodgers of Stars wins the header during the Telkom Knockout Semi Final match between Platinum Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on November 09, 2014 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

Eleazar Rodgers of Stars wins the header during the Telkom Knockout Semi Final match between Platinum Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on November 09, 2014 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

Eleazar Rodgers scored his first goal in Platinum Stars colours as Dikwena booked their place in the Telkom Knockout final with a 1-0 win over 10-man Mamelodi Sundowns at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng on Sunday afternoon.

Rodgers rounded-off a clinical counter-attack five minutes into the second half against his former employers, whom he left before the start of the 2014/15 season.

The lanky attacker showed glimpses of the type of form which earned him a move from Santos in 2012, backing himself to beat goalkeeper Denis Onyango at the far post, after a superb through-ball from Tintswalo Tshabalala set the striker free down the left.

Last year’s champions continued their fine form against the more fancied Brazilians, who have now succumbed to the Rustenburg outfit in each of the country’s three cup tournaments.

Rodgers, who showed a fantastic turn of speed by beating Mario Booysen to the ball, ensured Sundowns were once again kept at bay, providing a second win against the Pretoria outfit this season, following a 2-1 win in the MTN8 at the beginning of August.

Much the same as their midweek draw with Mpumalanga Black Aces in Atteridgeville, Sundowns squandered a plethora of promising opportunities in front of goal.

A single win from their last four outings in all competitions, Bafana Ba Style appear to have misplaced their scoring boots.

Stars soaked up plenty of early pressure from their visitors in the first half, before turning the tables on their opponents in the second.

They dominated all aspects of the game, before being handsomely rewarded with a place in the final, where a rejuvenated SuperSport United await on November 29.

Rodgers was already in the thick of the action late in the opening 45 minutes, when he dragged an effort narrowly wide of the mark.

He, like the rest of his team, would have felt relieved when seconds later, Khama Billiat should have sent the visitors into the lead with a simple header from dead in front of goal.

The Zimbabwean international, however, somehow managed to nudge wide when Ramahlwe Mphahlele had made it impossible to miss, thanks to a pin-point delivery from the right.

That would be the first of at least three headers Sundowns should have sunk, as second-half replacement Mame Niang twice found himself in front of Siyabonga Mpontshane’s goalmouth, with the goal at his mercy. Instead he headed wide on two occasions.

Earlier, Elias Pelembe was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after he was clumsily opposed in the box, but his decision to stay on his feet cost him in the end.

Rogers made no mistake shortly after the interval. The striker, often criticised for his lack of impetus in front of goal bore down on goal, before summing up his options and choosing to go it alone.

The hosts looked hungry for more after Rodgers’ opener, regularly running directly at the Sundowns defence in a show of positive play which could easily have been rewarded, had it not been for a missed passes at vital moments.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was left helpless on the touchline and could do little when Tebogo Langerman picked up his second yellow card and was handed his marching orders two minutes from the end.

In the end, Stars held on for the win and join Matsatsantsa in the showpiece final, after the Pretoria side clinched a 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates in Soweto on Saturday evening.

Sapa

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