By Sibongiseni Zondi | 2018-04-16
Highlanders………….. (0) 0
Wanderers…………… (1) 2
SOCCER – IT has come to two teams; UYAYIFUNA NA?
Manzini Wanderers scored in each half to beat rivals Mbabane Highlanders 2-0 to reach the SwaziBank Cup final.
The highly anticipated clash between the giants was staged at a packed Somhlolo National Stadium and watched by a number of dignitaries, including staunch Highlanders supporter Prince Majaha.
It was Wanderers who began the match well with captain Lwazi ‘Shana’ Maziya arriving with a trademark header at the near post in the 7th minute. The effort looked to be going in but Highlanders goalkeeper Sidumo Vilakati did well to parry the ball away.
Four minutes later at the other end, Highlanders skipper Xolani ‘Chocco’ Sibandze headed straight at Wanderers goalkeeper Romanus Igidimba.
In the 23rd minute, however, Wanderers took the lead. A ball was played to striker Kola Aledeon and the forward did well to hold off a challenge from Highlanders defenders before teeing up winger Mike Dombo, who hit home from close range.
While Wanderers drew first blood, Highlanders were stunned but were quickly up and looking for a response with captain Sibandze and striker Thabiso Mokenkoane all coming close with efforts soon after Wanderers opener.
But it was Wanderers, who ended the half strongly as Dombo’s goal bound effort from close range was cleared away by the troubled Highlanders defence.
The second half was less lively but Highlanders almost found the equaliser in the 55th minute as Mokenkoane was put through by midfielder Menzi Sithole, only to see his shot go a few inches wide of goal.
Wanderers were solid in defence, even after losing trusted centre back Sihle Mkhonta but were almost breached in the 78th minute as right back Vusumuzi Vilakati found space and crossed for Mokenkoane, who failed to connect with the ball and saw his tame header go wide of goal.
Two minutes later, Wanderers sealed their victory in emphatic fashion. Impressive midfielder Sicelo 'Junior' Simelane began the move, driving with the ball from the halfway line before feeding the ball to substitute Ali Matse on the right flank. Matse beat Highlanders left back Peter Dlamini before neatly squaring the ball for Kola, who hit it into the net first time as Wanderers went 2-0 up.
Despite Highlanders’ best efforts to get back into the game in the last 10 minutes, Wanderers remained immovable at the back and held on for an impressive victory to reach their third SwaziBank Cup final following their two unsuccessful attempts in 2009 and 2015.
Highlanders - Sdumo, Vusumuzi, Peter Dlamini, Mncedisi, Manana, Mlaba (Allen), Sithole, Chocco, Mthobisi (Vukile), Thabiso, Musonda (Ndumiso)
Wanderers - Igidimba, Gamedze, Mthethwa, Mkhonta (Maphosa), Machado, Shana, Djemba, Maseko (Ali), Junior, Dombo, Kola
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