Oscarine Masuluke scores winning penalty as Sporting advance to Nedbank Cup last 16
Goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out as TS Sporting claimed a 4-3 penalty shootout success following a 2-2 Nedbank Cup Last 32 draw with Ajax Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium on Thursday.
Sporting twice led in the 120 minutes as they scored goals via Mbulelo Wagaba and Katlego Mojela.
Ajax battled back thanks to strikes from Sonwabile Mfecane and Siphesihle Mkhize but ultimately fell short in the shoot-out.
Both teams missed penalties in the shoot-out, but after Ajax skipper Isaac Nhlapo missed, Masuluke buried his to claim the win.
The Urban Warriors were Nedbank Cup runners-up in 2015, but their fortunes have dipped considerably since that final appearance and they are now left to concentrate on their promotion push in the GladAfrica Championship.
Sporting’s recent revival has continued and they were good value for their win, even if they did ride their luck at times.
Ajax would not have been helped by the turbulent off-field struggles that saw head of youth Hans Vonk suspended for undisclosed reasons, and coach Andries Ulderink walk out on the club in protest last week.
Ajax rested star man Keoikantse Mosiatlhaga, who has netted 16 goals in all competitions this season, while veteran Eleazar Rodgers was also left out.
Sporting fielded veteran midfielder Sifiso Myeni, a Nedbank Cup winner with BidVest Wits (2010) and Orlando Pirates in 2014.
Ajax made a bright start and winger Katlego Otladisa rounded goalkeeper Masuluke but as he tried to steady himself, was crowded out by the covering defence and the danger was averted.
Sporting took the lead on 17 minutes with a neat goal, Wagaba was released in between the Ajax centre-backs and he coolly slotted past debutant Ajax goalkeeper Darren Johnson.
The best chances in the first half all fell the way of Ajax. Thabo Mosadi found space on the right-hand side of the box and his driven shot went flying just over the crossbar.
Thendo Mukumela was inches away from an equaliser when the ball just eluded him having been headed across goal from a corner, and when Deolin Mekoa received a poor back-pass, his low cross was met with a back-heel Mohau Mokate, but Maluluke pulled off a good save.
Sporting were fortunate early in the second half when defender Shadrack Kobedi saw his header flash wide of his own goal.
The impressive Wagaba struck a free-kick straight at Johnson, but before that, Ajax should have equalised.
Deolin Mekoa’s shot was blocked on the line and Otladisa fired the rebound wide of the goal when he should have at least hit the target.
The equaliser did finally come a minute from time when Grant Margeman’s cross from the right was headed home by Mfecane, just three minutes after he had come off the bench.
Ajax looked the more likely to score in extra-time, but a defensive lapse allowed Mojela a run on goal and he produced a fine finish, before Mkhize made the score 2-2 with more late drama.