Mamelodi Sundowns were left stunned as a penalty from Mduduzi Mdantsane and an own goal by Reyaad Pieterse saw Baroka advance to the Telkom Knockout semi-finals at the expense of the Tshwane giants, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
1) Giant slayers
Baroka maintain their status as ‘giant killers’ after putting Sundowns to the sword, despite their poor form this campaign, which sees them positioned second from the bottom in the league standings with seven points from 11 games, while claiming only one win in the process.
Bagaka were hoping to redeem themselves after they were knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stage last season by eventual champions Bidvest Wits.
2) Pieterse’s deflected
Mosimame opted to start goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse in between the sticks with Onyango sidelined with a shoulder injury.
However, it proved costly after Matome Kvoetyane crossed the ball into the box where the Sundowns goalkeeper could only help the ball into the back of his own net in an attempt to keep it out after he was wrong-footed.
The former SuperSport United shot-stopper has now conceded five goals in thre appearance while only keeping one clean sheet.
3) Absence of key Sundowns players
Sundowns were wary of the dangers that Baroka posed and coach Pitso Mosimane made a few changes to his squad that claimed a narrow 1-0 victory over Chippa United at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in their last Absa Premiership encounter on 27 October, with Gaston Sirino scoring the only goal of the game as they claimed all three points.
The Brazilians were recently hit with a few injuries which saw the likes of Denis Onyango and Sibusiso Vilakazi left out of the squad through their respective injuries.
However, Sundowns were banking on the likes of Gaston Sirino, Hlompho Kekana, Toni Silva and Andile Jali to steer them to victory over Baroka, having drawn two matches and won three in their last five matches.
4) Sundowns Cup woes
Masandawana’s wait for silverware this season continues after their slow start to the campaign, which saw them being knocked out of the Caf Champions League and MTN8 respectively.
The Brazilians were desperate to claim their hands hands on this trophy with their last success in the competition coming back in December 2015 when they beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 in the final.
5) Thoka to the rescue
Baroka did not report any injuries from their camp ahead of the clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
However, the Limpopo-based outfit were without head coach Wedson Nyirenda, who was given compassionate leave.
This meant that assistant coach Matsemela Thoka was in charge of the team for the encounter.
The assistant coach proved his worth when he lead Baroka to their first victory over Sundowns in a cup tie.
The home side then became the first team to qualfy for the Telkom Knockout semi-final as they look to claim their piece of silverware in this competition.
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