Stellenbosch FC striker Iqraam Rayners celebrates goal with teammates during the Carling Knockout, quarterfinal match against Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on November 03, 2023.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images
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Stellenbosch FC progressed to the semifinals of the Carling Knockout Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over Polokwane City on Friday night. 

This victory was secured through first half goals by attackers Iqraam Rayners and exciting Devin Titus as they took advantage of some sloppy defending by their hosts. 

To their credit, this is Stellenbosch’s third semifinal qualification in six months after the Nedbank Cup where they lost to Sekhukhune United in May last season and MTN8 in September where they were defeated by Orlando Pirates. 

Polokwane played this match without their coach Lehlohonolo Seema who is back home in Lesotho after the death of his father and his place in the dug-out was taken by Phuti Mohafe. 

Stellenbosch took the lead after seven minutes when Rayners found the back of the net from close range after receiving a defence-splitting pass from Jayden Adams. 

Though he did not get on the scoresheet, Adams should have impressed Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos who included him in the enlarged 44-member preliminary squad for the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Rwanda this month. 

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With the opening goal, Polokwane were caught napping as Adams started the attacking move that included a few Stellenbosch players and ended with him assisting Rayners to beat Manuel Sapunga. 

Polokwane suffered a blow as they lost key defender Bulelani Nikani due to injury and  was replaced by Koketso Baloyi who joined Thabang Matuludi and Lebohang Nkaki. 

Stellenbosch increased their lead after 16 minutes through attacker Devin Titus who put the ball past Sapunga as he benefited from a clever assist from his goalkeeper Sage Stephens. 

Stellenbosch nearly pulled further away on the scoreboard on the hour mark but Kgaogelo Sekgota was denied by alert Sapunga who parried the ball away for a corner kick. 

A few minutes later, impressive Polokwane attacker Oswin Appollis, who is also in Bafana Bafana’s preliminary squad, forced a stunning save from Stephens with a thunderous curling shot. 

Polokwane tried for a consolation goal but Stellenbosch kept a clean sheet as they secured a place in the last four where they will wait for the winner of other quarterfinal matches. 

This round of fixtures will be concluded on Saturday when Richards Bay host Orlando Pirates, Golden Arrows visit AmaZulu in the KwaZulu-Natal derby and Sekhukhune United host TS Galaxy. 


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