Maritzburg, Celtic advance Nedbank Cup quarterfinals
A 10 men Maritzburg United made it to the last 8 of the Nedbank Cup in drama-filled match in Durban on Sunday afternoon.
Maritzburg defeated their First Division neighbours 2-1 through defender Siyanda Xulu's header with just a minute left on referee's watch.
Xulu's winner came after the game had been disrupted for more than 40 minutes by heavy rain and lightning, five minutes before the end of 90 minutes.
Maritzburg had taken the lead through Deolin Mekoa's goal in the final seconds of added time in the first 45 minutes.
When Mekoa's goal was cancelled by Mame Niang's penalty in the 72nd, after Xulu was judged to have fouled Samuel Mangayi inside the area, the game looked headed for extra time before Xulu redeemed himself by heading in Mekoa's corner kick.
Mekoa had opened the score after receiving a well worked cross by Siphesihle Ndlovu on the right. Once Ndlovu had finished his twists and turns on Diego Brown he delivered a sweet low cross for Mekoa to tap in his first goal in this tournament.
Even before the two teams descended on this ground some off field drama had taken place with Eagles having annoyed Maritzburg by moving this match to this KwaMashu venue instead of the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, the home ground both teams share.
On the field of play Eagles, who are coached by former Chippa United coach Roger Sikhakhane proved to be no pushovers.
The Eagles attackers forced referee Victor Hlungwane to give Maritzburg central defender and skipper Bevan Fransaman the red card in the 45 minute for a second bookable offence on striker Joshua Sauls.
Sensing aerial danger posed by Niang after his team was reduced to 10 men, Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids shored up his defence by bringing on the tall Kenyan defender Brian Onyango for winger Bokang Tlhone.
Attacking with the gangling Niang, the former Moroka Swallows striker from Senegal, Eagles wingers were pumping a lot of high balls in Maritzburg danger zone in search for the equaliser.
It duly came when Manganyi was fouled by Xulu, giving Niang a chance to level matters before Xulu came back to rectify his mistake and took The Team of Choice to the last 8.
Other Nedbank Cup weekend results:
Friday, March 9 2018:
AmaZulu 2 - 3 Ubuntu Cape Town
Saturday, March 10 2018:
Free State Stars 2 - 1 Chippa United
Baroka FC 2 - 0 Steenberg United
Kaizer Chiefs 2 - 1 Stellenbosch FC
Sunday, March 11 2018:
Bloemfontein Celtic 3 - 1 Richards Bay