Sundowns have rich history in the Carling Knockout

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  • Post published:October 18, 2023

Mamelodi Sundowns are technically the holders in the Carlin Knockout having won the previous version of the competition when it was last played as the Telkom Knockout in 2019.

On that occasion they defeated Eric Tinkler’s Maritzburg United in a controversial final in which their Uruguayan import Mauricio Affonso scored a brace of goals on one of the rare occasions the injury-prone striker made it onto the pitch.

But Maritzburg were also denied a late equaliser that on reflection looked a good goal, so things might have turned out very differently.

That is one of four tournament wins from eight final appearances down the years – a 50% conversion rate – with seven of those visits to the decider coming in the Premier Soccer League era.

Their first final was in 1990, when two legs were used to determine the winner, as they beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the first game and then drew 1-1 in the return.

Sundowns appeared in three finals in a row between 1997 and 1999, but won only the last of them. They lost on penalties to Kaizer Chiefs in the first two years, successive cruel defeats, before they beat Free State Stars 2-0 to finally regain the trophy.

They lost again on penalties to Chiefs in 2007, and 1-0 to Bloemfontein Celtic in 2012, but have been victorious in their last two deciders.

They got some revenge over Chiefs with a 3-1 success in 2015 as Leo Castro, Thabo Nthethe and Hlompho Kekana all scored, before claiming that fortunate success against Maritzburg.

For some reason Sundowns and Free State Stars were often drawn together, meeting on eight occasions (W6 D1 L1), their most frequent opponent.

After that is it six clashes with AmaZulu (W5 D1), Celtic (W5 L1) and Chiefs (W1 D4 L1).

The team’s biggest win was a 6-1 thumping of Free State Stars in the quarterfinals in 2015, Mogakolodi Ngele, Keagan Dolly, Themba Zwane, Bongani Zungu and Katlego Mashego all on target to go with an own goal.

Their heaviest defeat was a 3-0 loss to Moroka Swallows in the first round in 2011.

The club’s top-scorer in the PSL era has been Isaac Shai, who netted an impressive 10 goals, including a hattrick against Umtata Bush Bucks in 1999, when he scored seven goals in all as The Brazilians went on to lift the trophy.

In all, Sundowns have played 71 games in the League Cup since 1996/97, winning 40, drawing 14 and losing 17. They have scored 116 goals and conceded 66.

Tournament finishes
2019/20: Winners
2018/19: Quarterfinals
2017/18: First Round
2016/17: Quarterfinals
2015/16: Winners
2014/15: Semifinals
2013/14: Quarterfinals
2012/13: Final
2011/12: First Round
2010/11: Quarterfinals
2009/10: Quarterfinals
2008/09: First Round
2007/08: Final
2006/07: Semifinals
2005/06: Quarterfinals
2004/05: Quarterfinals
2003/04: First round
2002/03: First round
2001/02: Semifinals
2000/01: First round
1999/00: Winners
1998/99: Final
1997/98: Final
1996/97: Semifinal

Biggest home win
4-0: Sundowns v Lamontville Golden Arrows (01/10/05, First Round)

Biggest away win
6-1: Free State Stars vs Sundowns (25/10/15, Quarterfinals)

Heaviest home defeat
1-3: Sundowns vs Ajax Cape Town (19/10/02, First Round)

Heaviest away defeat
0-3: Moroka Swallows vs Sundowns (22/10/11, First Round)

10 – Isaac Shai

Photo by Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix