Uruguayans Mauricio Affonso and Gaston Sirino combined with two goals and as many assists respectively to help Mamelodi Sundowns come back from behind to lift the 2019 Telkom Knockout Cup following a 2-1 victory over Maritzburg United at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
It was Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’s second Telkom Knockout trophy after guiding the Brazilians to the same crown in 2015.
After Sundowns won the 2018/19 PSL title in May, Saturday's triumph was their second major trophy of this year.
For Eric Tinkler’s Maritzburg, they lost an opportunity to lift their first-ever trophy in their top-flight football history.
The day appeared to belong to Maritzburg when Judas Moseamedi put his side ahead five minutes before half-time but Affonso’s second-half double sent Sundowns to the winners’ podium.
A slow start characterised the match but Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori was quick to deny Sundowns eight minutes into the match by rising high to collect Thapelo Morena’s dangerously looking cross above the lurking Brazilians’ attacker.
With the match seemingly going for a goalless first half, Moseamedi connected a goal-kick from Ofori past the haplessly-defending Denis Onyango and Mosa Lebusa for Maritzburg’s goal, leaving the Sundowns players knocking against each other.
Interestingly, another collision between Onyango and Lebusa caused a brief stoppage two minutes into the match.
Going into the half-time break, Mosimane could have felt cheated after referee Jelly Chavani ignored a penalty call as Ishmael Mngonyama appeared to have fouled Lebusa inside the box.
Maritzburg almost doubled their lead three minutes before half time but Tebogo Langerman was on hand to deny Tinkler’s side with a block inside the box following an attack initiated by Moseamedi.
With Sundowns showing intent to come back, Ofori completely missed an attempt to punch the ball to safety to allow Affonso – under the challenge of Nazeer Allie - to head in a Gaston Sirino cross for the Brazilians’ equaliser nine minutes after the break.
Then, a well-positioned Affonso nearly thrust Sundowns ahead on 66 minutes but his header went wide.
Affonso was back again with his head to finish off a Sirino corner kick and hand Sundowns the lead.
Maritzburg almost levelled matters but Bandile Shandu’s shot off a Mngonyama cross was blocked at close range three minutes before full-time.
The first corner kick of the game came after 88 minutes in what was the testimony of Maritzburg’s quest for an equaliser as they forced Sundowns to back-peddle.
Moseamedi thought he had levelled terms for Maritzburg but his headed goal was flagged down for offside.
That decision could turn out to be the post-match talking point.