Baroka shock Mamelodi Sundowns as coach Nyirenda grieves
Grieving Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda was absent when his Baroka side shocked Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Saturday.
JOHANNESBURG - Grieving Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda was absent when his Baroka side shocked Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Saturday in the Telkom Knockout Cup quarter-finals.
The 51-year-old former national team striker had returned home to bury his mother, leaving assistant Matsimela Thoka in charge.
Baroka, who have won just one of 11 league matches this season, did their coach proud as they triumphed via a penalty and an own-goal at their ground in Polokwane.
Captain Mduduzi Mdantsane cheekily converted a 22nd-minute penalty, waiting for goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse to dive before calmly placing a shot into the middle of the net.
Pieterse, deputising for injured Uganda shot-stopper Denis Onyango, pushed the ball into his net after 68 minutes when attempting to palm away a deflected cross.
Former CAF Champions League winners Sundowns were unable to match the enthusiasm of the home team and could have suffered a heavier defeat.
"The key to our success today was not being overly respectful of Sundowns just because they are such a successful side," said Thoka.
Baroka were later joined in the semi-finals by trophy-holders Wits and Orlando Pirates while Kaizer Chiefs face SuperSport United on Sunday in the remaining quarter-final.
League leaders Wits battled to a 2-1 win at Maritzburg United in an often overly-physical clash during which seven players were yellow-carded.
Nazeer Allie of Maritzburg conceded an own-goal against his former club and Buhle Mkhwanazi soared to nod in a corner and give the Johannesburg outfit a two-goal half-time lead.
eSwatini international Justice Figareido halved the deficit with a low shot into the corner on 71 minutes to create a tense finish in eastern city Pietermaritzburg.
"Losing two players to injuries inside 30 minutes disrupted our plans, but the boys stood their ground and deserved to win," said Wits coach Gavin Hunt.
Pirates extended an unbeaten run in all competitions to nine matches by winning 3-1 away to AmaZulu in Durban.
Thembinkosi Lorch broke the deadlock on 37 minutes only for Bonginkosi Ntuli to level within three minutes at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Xola Mlambo regained the lead for Pirates two minutes into extra time with a low shot that went between the legs of a defender en route to the corner of the net.
Man-of-the-match Lorch put the outcome beyond doubt two minutes into the second half of extra time and was deprived of a hat-trick when his trickling shot rebounded off the post.