Tshakhuma are through to the Nedbank Cup final after a 6-5 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in a penalty shootout in their semi-final match at Loftus Stadium on Sunday that had ended goalless after 120 minutes.
Zimbabwean veteran Washington Arubi was the hero of the day, as he not only saved the crucial sudden death penalty from Hlompho Kekana, but had also made a few great saves in the game.
Mamelodi Sundowns (5)0-0(6) Tshakhuma
As expected, it was Sundowns who took early control of the possession, and Lesedi Kapinga, promoted to the starting line up with Lebohang Maboe suspended, had a chance from just outside the area in the 10th minute, but his attempt lacked power and was simple for Washington Arubi to deal with.
Tshakhuma, who are still waiting on Dylan Kerr’s work permit, had their first real chance in the 23rd minute, but Alfred Ndengane’s headed attempt was wide of Ricardo Goss’s goal.
TTM were applying good pressure on Sundowns, attempting to break their rhythm with tight marking in the midfield, and the opening half saw very little goalmouth action.
At halftime it remained goalless, and the visitors would have pleased with their efforts at holding the defending champions.
Sphelele Mkhulise almost opened the scoring in the first minute of the second half as he got to a ball just outside the box and poked it past an advancing Arubi, but Ndengane was able to get back and clear the ball before it reached the goalmouth.
Themba Zwane missed a glorious chance in the 55th minute, as he blasted over from in front of goal from a rebound from Arubi, who wasn’t able to hold on to a cross from Gaston Sirino.
Arubi made a good save to deny Sirino in the 66th minute, as the Uruguayan reached substitute Lyle Lakay’s cross and headed on target.
Sundowns had a good penalty call two minutes later as Diamond Thopola brought down Sirino, but the referee waved play on.
TTM substitute Thembisani Nevhulamba had a chance in the 74th minute, but he was well marked by Rushine De Reuck, and his attempt went wide and high. He had another chance to score ten minutes later, but once again Nevhulamba shot wide of goal.
Arubi made an excellent save to deny Sibusiso Vilakazi in the 87th minute, making a great one handed stop to deny the Sundown’s substitute’s powerful volley from close range.
Ricardo Nascimento had a chance in stoppage time, but his header from a Lakay free kick went wide of goal. Vilakazi had another attempt just before the end of the 90, but he blasted wide and the match headed into extra time.
Eight minutes into extra time, Arubi made another top save, this time denying Lakay’s excellent free kick attempt. Four minutes later Lakay was on target again from open play, but it was an easier save for Arubi to make.
At half-time in extra time the teams could still not be separated.
TTM thought they had a penalty in the 19th minute When Brian Onyango tackled Nevhulamba, but Jelly Chavani waved played on.
Onyango thought he’d scored in the 24th minute, but he was correctly ruled off side after following up from Arubi save from a Peter Shalulile attempt.
A valiant defensive effort from TTM, Arubi especially, as they held Sundowns out and the match went to a penalty shootout.