Maritzburg edge Wits on penalties in Telkom Knockout
Cape Town - Maritzburg United defeated Bidvest Wits 3-1 on penalties in their Telkom Knockout last-16 tie on Friday night after a closely contested match ended 1-1 following extra time.
The first half started at a high tempo as the hosts pressed forward in search of an early goal and very nearly got the breakthrough they were looking for in the first minute of play. Thabiso Kutumela made a surging run into the danger area before squaring the ball to Mxolisi Kunene, who was denied at point-blank range by Wits keeper Ricardo Goss.
Wits eventually managed to muster a response 10 minutes later, with Thabang Monare seeing his volleyed shot from the edge of the box kept out by Bongani Mpandle in the Maritzburg goal.
But the was sadly the last piece of noteworthy action in an otherwise drab first period as the two sides regrouped at the break with the scores still locked at 0-0.
With chances from open play proving hard to fashion, it was no surprise when the opening goal arrived courtesy of a set piece in the 57th minute. Haashim Domingo fired an inviting cross towards the anger area where Terrence Dzvukamanja was well placed to send a glancing header in at the far post.
The visitors' didn't have much time to savour their lead, however, as Maritzburg earned a penalty at the opposite end of the pitch just two minutes later, Thabiso Kutumela calmly sending Goss the wrong way to level the scores.
Despite the game threatening to open up after the two-goal blitz, further shots on goal failed to materialise as both sides were forced to ponder the possibility of the match heading to extra time.
That trend continued through into extra time and the match would inevitably go to penalties.
And it was the hosts who held their nerve in the ensuing shootout, taking a 2-0 lead after three rounds thanks to Siyanda Xulu and Daylon Claasen.
Deon Hotto pulled one back for the Clever Boys before Judas Moseamedi hammered home Maritzburg's fourth attempt from the spot.
With the pressure on, it was Mxolisi Macuphu who stepped up to take Wits' fourth. He was unable to keep his side in the shootout, though, as Mpandle produced a great save to send Rise and Shine through to the last eight of the Telkom Knockout.