Kaizer Chiefs waved goodbye to their Telkom Knockout dreams after suffering a 2-1 loss to Maritzburg United in the semi-final on Sunday afternoon.
Amakhosi had four enforced changes, as goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma, Njabulo Blom, Kearyn Baccus and Bernard Parker all were brought in for Khama Billiat, Daniel Akpeyi, Erick Mathoho and Willard Katsande.
Meanwhile, the Team of Choice also amde four changes as Nazeer Allie, Daylon Claasen, Mxolisi Kunene and Judas Moseamedi all earned starting berths.
Maritzburg were containing Ernst Middendorp’s charges in the opening exchanges and they nearly broke the deadlock in the 21st minute after Kunene got the better of Reeve Frosler but Bvuma denied the attacker with a neat save.
However, Bvuma could do nothing to stop Judas Moseamedi on the half-hour mark after the Maritzburg striker latched onto Daniel Cardoso’s poor back-pass before rounding Bvuma to slot into an empty net.
Chiefs almost levelled matters six minutes before half-time with glancing header that missed narrowly wide from Parker, while Kunene squandered another big opening just before the halftime break.
Eric Tinkler’s army kept the same tactic of absorbing the pressure and look for chances on counter-attacks early in the second stanza and they nearly made bagged a second goal around the hour-mark after Claasen received a cut-back in the box but his side-footed shot crashed against the upright.
Chiefs were pressurising Maritzburg in the last quarter of an hour, as they finally levelled matters with 12 minutes remaining after Sasman finished into an empty net after goalkeeper Richard Ofori saved Nurkovic’s initial header.
However, Moseamedi restored Maritzburg’s lead five minutes before time with a smashing strike from close range after a cross from Bandile Shandu to complete his brace just seconds after squandering another opening.
The Team of Choice continued to find chances in the closing minutes but they were wasteful, although Chiefs were never threatening at the other end as Maritzburg qualify for their first Telkom Knockout final.