Telkom Knockout: Sundowns through to last 4

Hlompho Kekana scored in extra-time as Mamelodi Sundowns booked their spot in the Telkom Knockout semifinals with a 2-1 win over AmaZulu.

Level after 106 minutes of action at Loftus Versfeld today, Kekana rounded off from close range to wrap up a thrilling contest that really only came to life at the end of 90 minutes.

Cuthbert Malajila had put Sundowns ahead after 15 minutes, before AmaZulu left to it the last minute of second-half added time, Bongani Ndulula leveling in dramatic fashion to send the pair into extra-time.

But up-stepped Kekana’s thunderous boot to kill off the last of the AmaZulu threat, sealing a second successive 2-1, extra-time victory for Sundowns, who had the same result against the University of Pretoria in the previous round.

Sundowns wasted little time and surged ahead thanks to Malajila’s simple header, after some slack marking inside the area allowed the Zimbabwean international to nod home his header from dead in front.

The goal reflected much of Sundowns’ dominance of the opening half, though the hosts were unable to create a second, leaving AmaZulu in with a shout in the second period.

Sundowns had their chances to double the lead in the second half. Ejike Uzoenyi, virtually with his first touch of the ball after replacing Khama Billiat, flashed wide of the target after some stunning interplay in the build-up.

Hlompho Kekana smacked one of his trademark long-range efforts just high of the target after the half-hour mark, while Uzoenyi remained a threat in the final third.

The Nigerian international was making a nuisance of himself in the final minutes but Sundowns were a team on the retreat.

AmaZulu found their rhythm as the clock wound down, Bongani Ndulula going down inside the area in what looked to be a clumsy tackle that should have seen a penalty awarded.

But Ndulula would eventually have the decisive say when he netted in the 94th minute to halt Sundowns’ celebrations and extend the tie by an extra 30 minutes of additional time, much to the disgust of the vocal home fans.

Level after the first half of 15 minutes, it took Kekana less than 60 seconds to regain the lead for the hosts.

But this time Sundowns held on and saw out the 2-1 scoreline to safely throw their names in the hat ahead of tomorrow’s semifinal draw at the FNB Stadium.

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