TS Sporting survived a scare to proceed to the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals following a 4-3 extra-time win over hosts Happy Wanderers at Princes Magogo Stadium on Saturday.
Substitute Kamohelo Sithole saved the day for TS sporting with a brace, including a last-gasp winner from the penalty spot to prevent the match from reaching the lottery shootout.
Three penalties characterised the afternoon at Princess Magogo where stubborn ABC Motsepe League hosts Happy Wanderers launched a spirited and late comeback in regulation time which saw the match spill into extra-time.
TS Sporting had to defy some numerical disadvantage after former Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs defender Sibusiso Khumalo was red-carded in the decisive extra-time.
Zimbabwean defender Honest Moyo had thrust the Mpumalanga visitors ahead as early as five minutes into the match before Mbulelo Wagaba doubled the advantage from the penalty spot on 10 minutes.
But it needed two extra-time goals from Sithole which carried TS Sporting into the Last Eight of the competition.
Wanderers had launched a sensational retaliation with Mxolisi Mazibuko grabbing a brace, first by reducing arrears in the 82nd minute before an extra-time equaliser which threatened to push the match into a penalty shootout.
Following up on Mazibuko’s first goal, Sandile Mkhwanazi levelled matters two minutes before full time to force the match into extra-time.
Chawanagwa Kawonga, making his debut start for TS Sporting did not take time to make an impact as his corner kick was headed in by Moyo for the opener.
The Malawian forward was back again to haunt the hosts when he was brought down in the box as he tried to beat three defenders, leading to the penalty converted by Wagaba.
After knocking out fellow National First Division (NFD) side Ajax Cape Town in the previous round, TS Sporting entered this stage of the competition as favourites but did not have an easy afternoon.
As they appeared headed for an easy victory Njabulo Hlela set up Mazibuko who pulled a goal back for Wanderers.
Mazibuko was back again, this time providing for Mkhwanazi to hit home the equaliser that stretched the match to extra-time.
But Sithole rose from the bench to connect Sibongakonke Mbatha’s assist before having the final say with a goal from the penalty spot in extra-time stoppage time.
Elsewhere, an injury-time goal by Diego Brown saw Real Kings edge Mbombela United 2-1 at KaNyamazane Stadium to advance to the quarter-finals.
Lesvin Stoffels stunned the hosts when he scored for Real Kings 19 minutes into the match but Mbombela struck back through Phetolo Sekome in the 33rd minute.
Brown then struck three minutes into stoppage time to decide the contest which looked headed to extra-time.
It was a clash of NFD sides and Mbombela United’s elimination of Cape Town City in the Round of 32 went to waste after they reeled out of the Nedbank Cup.
Boasting experienced players like Felix Badenhorst and Kingston Nkhatha who came on as a second half substitute, Mbombela were embarrassed at home by their visitors from KwaZulu-Natal.
During the early stages of the contest, the game was controlled by Real Kings who went ahead when Stoffels was fed by former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Philani Cele for the opener.
Humphrey Khoza then set up Sekome for Mbombela’s equaliser before Brown got to the end of Levy Mashiane’s pass to nail home the winner for Kings.