Maritzburg United stun Mamelodi Sundowns to reach Nedbank Cup final
Maritzburg United provided a second stunning upset of the weekend as they defeated fancied Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in the semi finals of the Nedbank Cup.
The KwaZulu-Natal side will now face Free State Stars in the competition decider in Cape Town on May 19, a most unlikely match-up in South Africa's version of the FA Cup.
Maritzburg have never reached a cup final before, while Stars were last in the decider of this competition in 1994 when they lost to Vaal Professionals.
Sundowns took the lead within 70 seconds as Uruguayan Gaston Sirino scored his first goal for the club, but the game turned later on when he received a red card for two yellow cards in quick succession, both for petulant play.
Lebogang Maboe equalized for the home side just before half time, and second-half goals for Mxolisi Kunene and Fortune Makaringe sealed a famous and historic victory for rookie coach Fadlu Davids.
Sundowns grabbed the lead when Sirino's tame shot squirmed away from Maritzburg's Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori, a horror moment for the gloveman.
However, rather than let their heads drop, the goal spurred the home side on and they began to take control of the fixture.
Bevan Fransman blasted a free-kick narrowly over the bar, but Ofori made up for his earlier error with an excellent stop from Themba Zwane's rocket-shot.
Maboe got the home side back into the game when his shot on the angle nestled in the bottom corner of the net, leaving Dennis Onyango in the Sundowns goal with no chance.
Downs then lost defender Anele Ngcongca to a fractured ankle early in the second period, and were later reduced to 10 with 16 minutes to play when Sirino went over the top of the ball on Maboe and got a second yellow card in four minutes.
Maritzburg took the lead with five minutes remaining when substitute Kunene drilled the ball home from the back of the box.
As Sundowns pushed forward, Maritzburg looked to hit them on a counter, as Makaringe drove through the middle and coolly placed the ball past Onyango to seal the victory.