United prevail to lift Telkom Cup

2014-11-29 23:00

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This is how cup finals should go – goals, cards, penalties and missed penalties!

This season’s Telkom Knockout will go down in the history books as one of the best-contested finals, and SuperSport United had to dig deep to wrestle the cup away from the defending champions, Platinum Stars.

But it was not easy for United – the game could have gone either way and, until the final whistle, it was anyone’s call as Stars threw everything at United.

Stars will look back at Eleazar Rodgers’ missed penalty at the end of the first half of extra time as the turning point – the scores were level at 2-all. But United have goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to thank for his double saves .

Thuso Phala broke his former team-mates’ hearts with a stunning winning goal in the 110th minute to separate the two teams.

After ending the 90 minutes levelled at 1-1, the game took a different shape as the two sides drew on their reserves in an attempt to avoid the penalty kicks.

Referee Thando Ndzandzeka awarded three penalties – two to United and one to Stars. While United capitalised on their kicks with captain Clayton Daniels converting both, Rodgers missed his.

This was a good game as both teams made up for their lack of support on the stands as they dished out good football on the field.

It was worthy of a cup final as they went for each other – knowing there had to be one winner. And in the end, coach Gordon Igesund added to the cluster of trophies in his cabinet.

United settled first as they took the game to Stars and as early as the 5th minute, Siyabonga Mpontshane was forced to come to his team’s rescue by stopping a cross from Phala. Igesund’s men were smelling blood and continued piling pressure on Stars, but found the Bafana goalkeeper in good form as he thwarted their attempts.

United thought they had won a penalty when Lebogang Manyama was brought down inside the box, but the referee waved play on – to the dismay of United players.

It was Stars who were to break the deadlock – against the run of play, it must be said – when Robert Ng’ambi beat Williams with a low shot.

But United were soon back on level terms after Daniels converted from the spot after they were awarded a penalty.

This was after David Mathebula was brought down in the box. Daniels scored his team’s second in extra time, but their celebrations were short-lived as Mogakolodi Ngele immediately put one in for Stars.

But United had the last laugh with former Stars man Phala stealing the glory and delivering the trophy to his team.

Phala missed Stars’ two trophies last season because the team won after he had left. But he got his chance to celebrate at last.

It is back to the league programme as United meet neighbours Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday, while Stars visit Polokwane City to get their campaign back on track.

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