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HomeNedbank CupStellies Stun Downs To Reach Nedbank Semis

Stellies Stun Downs To Reach Nedbank Semis

Stellenbosch came from a goal down to shock defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in their Nedbank Cup quarter-final fixture at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday evening.

It was a brace from the competition’s top scorer, Iqraam Rayners, that did the job for Steve Barker’s team, and book their spot in the semi-finals

Stellenbosch went into this fixture quietly confident after holding the DStv Premiership champions to a draw earlier this year, a result that ended Sundowns’ record-winning streak. But they also faced a stern test with three players suspended – captain Deano Van Rooyen, Nhlanhla Mgaga and Sage Stephens.

In all previous meetings, Stellies had won just once, that being in a league fixture just under a year ago.

Sundowns, who are also the defending Nedbank champions, were looking to break a run of draws, having shared the spoils in their last three consecutive league fixtures since being named champions.

It was a high-energy start to the game, with both teams threatening, however, there was little impact in the final thirds in the opening quarter of an hour. 

But after a few half chances, Neo Maema went close in the 25th minute, but while his shot beat a diving Lee Langeveldt, it went wide of the upright. Moments later Junior Mendieta’s attempt at the other end was also off target.

A golden chance fell to Marcelo Allende in the 33rd minute, as he raced onto a mistimed pass, but Vusi Sibiya made a last-ditch tackle to stop the Chilean. The end-to-end action continued and Iqraam Rayners shot just over two minutes later.

The deadlock was broken in the 39th minute as Aubrey Modiba fired in a cracker, only it for to bounce off the woodwork, hit Langeveldt on the back and roll into the goal.

Downs took that lead into the break, but three minutes into the second half the scores were level. Iqraam Rayners pounced on a poor back pass, rounded Denis Onyango and made no mistake to make it 1-1.

Maema tested Langeveldt from range in the 51st minute, but the Stellies keeper got down to make the save.

Stellies high press was working and some good work from Devin Titus saw Rayners with another opportunity in the 56th minute. He raced past his man, before chipping over Onyango to make it 2-1. It was Rayners’ sixth of the tournament.

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Langeveldt came to the rescue in the 64th minute, making back-to-back saves to deny attempts from Khuliso Mudau, and Gaston Sirino on the follow-up.

Mendieta meanwhile almost combined with Rayners a minute later, but the Argentinean fired over.

Stellies were doing a good job of keeping Peter Shalulile quiet, and Langeveldt did well to save at his feet in the 70th minute. Onyango saved Mendieta’s 75th-minute low strike.

Sundowns fought hard to find the equaliser, but Stellies defended bravely. A late attempt from Thapelo Morena, struck Shalulile and bounced over the goal.

When the final whistle blew, the packed Athlone Stadium cheered as the home team stunned the league champions.

Rob Delport
Rob Delport
Rob Delport is a walking football encyclopedia, having been a mainstay in the Cape Town football scene for years. Rob has previously worked for SABC and various websites and publications across Africa, as well as being the South African Head Researcher for Football Manager and doing a similar role occasionally for EA Sports FIFA. Highly respected, Rob is now a senior iDiski Times website and newspaper writer, and is also responsible for the newspaper's editorial.
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