Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Maritzburg United recovered from conceding a goal after 70sec to advance to the Nedbank Cup final by upsetting Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in Sunday’s semifinal at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

It was a historic day for the club, who will compete in their first cup final against Free State Stars in Cape Town on May 19.

Lebogang Maboe‚ substitute Mxolisi Kunene and man of the match Fortune Makaringe scored as they showed great fortitude to turn around their fortunes as Sundowns fell apart after half-time.

Gaston Sirino put the league champions-elect ahead but then got himself unnecessarily sent off midway through the second half to offer Maritzburg an advantage that they took with both hands.

Sundowns strolled through on their first attack, with Sirino getting off the first shot of the contest‚ which slipped through the hands of Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori and trickled over the line.

In a horror start for the home side and the sell-out crowd, Uruguayan import Sirino got his first goal after 16 outings since signing for the Brazilians. It allowed Sundowns to dictate the tempo‚ slowing down the game‚ flooding the midfield and not allowing Maritzburg any way through towards their goal.

But two minutes before half-time Maritzburg got their first shot on goal and an equaliser when Maboe rifled the ball past Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango. Suddenly it was game on again.

With five minutes left Makaringe set up Kunene‚ who turned Wayne Arendse with a dip of the shoulder and a fine strike to go 2-1 up and offer the chance of a historic triumph.

This was sealed in stoppage time as Makaringe earned a well-earned goal to send Maritzburg into their first Cup final.