Semi-Finals for the underdogs
Written by Neo Molefi on November 6, 2023
Written by: Floyd Nkanyane
The 16 team Carling knockout cup saw the 8 remaining teams return to action this past weekend for the 2 nd round of fixtures that had neutrals begging for more upsets similar to those that occurred in the 1st round. Ask and it shall be granted, it is the underdogs that qualified for the semi-finals in this unpredictable yet intriguing edition of cup football.
Cup specialists Kaizer Chiefs, the 2019 Telkom knockout cup winners, Mamelodi Sundowns, and favourites Supersport United all fell at the first hurdle of the tournament. Orlando Pirates headlined the quarter finals fixtures as favourites to make it to the last 4.
However standing in their way was a tricky Richards Bay side that is known for its inconsistency in the league but understand what is necessary to progress to the next round. The result was unexpected as the Natal Rich Boys managed to pull off another upset of the tournament by holding off multiple waves of attacks from the Sea Robbers to claim a famous 5 – 4 victory on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes of action.
The Sea Robbers have themselves to blame after dominating the match with 819 passes completed and having 73% of the ball for over 120 minutes including added time. This means no team from Gauteng will feature in the Last 4 of any domestic tournament for the first time, since turn of the millennia.
Elsewhere, the match of the weekend took place at the Peter Mokaba Stadium that saw TS Galaxy take on Sekhukhune United. The Rockets won 4 – 2 on penalties after goalless action with Rwandan Goalkeeper Fiacre Ntwari proving to be the hero in a controversial shootout.
The shot stopper, who also had a hand in Galaxy’s win over Mamelodi Sundowns in October, saved two penalties against Babina Noko as his side converted four to win the day on a nerve wrecking encounter.
History continued to be written as Amazulu claimed a 3 – 0 victory over fellow Kwa Zulu Natal Rivals Lamontville Golden Arrows courtesy of a Sede Junior Dion 1st half Hat-Trick.
Mabhudi Khenyezas men lacked ideas or grit to fight for a win in this “Friendly Derby” that saw both sets of teams avoid a single booking.
Stellenbosch completes the Last 4 after early goals from Iqraam Rayners and Devin Titus was enough to defeat Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 2 – 0 to reach their third successive semi-final.
Carling Knockout Cup Quarter Finals Results
QF1: Polokwane City 0 – 2 Stellenbosch FC
QF2: Amazulu 3 – 0 Lamontville Golden Arrows
QF3: Richard Bay FC 0 (5) – 0 (4) Orlando Pirates FC
QF4: Sekhukhune United 0 (2) – 0 (4) TS Galaxy