Sundowns pay penalty for absences as they exit Carling Knockout

Sundowns had to play this game without seven Bafana internationals.

TS Galaxy dumped 10-man Mamelodi Sundowns out of the Carling Knockout following a 5-4 win on penalties at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday.

Lesiba Nku and Brian Onyango missed from the spot as Sundowns failed to shake off the ghosts of the defeat to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final in the same manner.  

120 minutes of football couldn’t separate both teams after a thrilling 2-2 draw in the last 16 round of the cup competition.

The Rockets shot up to an early 2-0 lead inside the opening 16 minutes of the match thanks to goals from Sphiwe Mahlangu and Mlungisi Mbunjana.

The South American pair of Marcelo Allende and Gaston Sirino forced the game into extra-time as Sundowns clawed their way back from the jaws of defeat with two second-half goals.

Bongani Zungu was shown a straight red card for a career-threatening tackle on Bernard Parker who had his leg broken to and left the pitch on a stretcher.

Sundowns were without seven of their regulars who were on international duty with Bafana Bafana. On paper, The Brazilians still put up a strong team with outcast Sirino surprisingly named on the bench.

An early double

A misplaced pass by second-choice goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse led to the opening goal of the match. Galaxy stole the ball in midfield to break into the Sundowns box.

Higor Vidal’s cutback led to confusion between Pieterse and Zungu who both failed to clear the danger before Mahlangu bundled the ball over the line with 12 minutes on the clock.

The home team doubled their lead four minutes later. Mbunjana found himself unmarked and headed home to make it 2-0 from a Vidal corner kick.

From then on, the Mpumalanga side were happy to let Sundowns have the ball as they held on to go into the break leading their depleted visitors.

Allende pulled one back with a powerful low shot outside the box 12 minutes after the restart. A minute later, Zungu was sent off after the horrific challenge on the 37-year-old former Kaizer Chiefs captain.

Sundowns piled on the pressure in the second half looking to draw level and it was Sirino who equalised deep into stoppage time. The Uruguayan was frozen out of the team after handing in a transfer request. He has allegedly apologised to the club in order to return to action.

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