Another Baroka giant-killing act

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The two stadiums sit side-by-side in the Limpopo capital, Polokwane, offering a fitting backdrop for Baroka whose Nedbank Cup ambitions died at the Peter Mokaba Stadium five years ago at the hands of neighbours Black Leopards in the semi-finals.

Lidoda Duvha ended a good run from Baroka who had eliminated Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows, denying them a chance to come up against Pirates in the final. Baroka have a chance to make up for that, as they will visit SuperSport United while Pirates travel to Free State Stars in the semi-finals.

To get to the last four, at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium yesterday, the first division side from Ga-Mphahlele exorcised those demons and continued with their giant-killing spree to eliminate a third team from the Premier Division, having also knocked out Chippa United and Golden Arrows before Rise and Shine.Baroka’s achievements of 2011 have always towered over them, especially since they were still an amateur side then.

This time around they’re in the first division, knocking at promotion to the elite league, but their great run in this competition has affected their NFD campaign where they sit in second place, two points behind Highlands Park although Baroka have a game in hand.

That drop didn’t bother them as they marched to the last four after a dominant display against their neighbours that’ll give them confidence they can reclaim the No 1 position by beating Royal Eagles.

But they weren’t thinking about that on Sunday, looking to get the better of their neighbours who went to sleep just before halftime.

Baroka took full advantage, with Albert Mothupa, unmarked in the far post, heading a rebound from Jacky Motshegwa’s powerful header that had hit the upright.

That goal stunned Rise and Shine, but before they could pick themselves up Donald Mokondelela powered past their defenders after winning the ball on the halfway line, leaving Jabulani Maluleke on the floor, to set up Collins Makgaka who put the first division side firmly in control.

That left Baroka one goal away from the 3-0 win that their coach Kgoloko Thobejane predicted, all of that with the club’s top goal scorer Thabiso Kutumela sitting on the bench. If you don’t know the Baroka mentor you would think he is just a loud mouth, with his larger than life character. But his club can back it up.

They did that on Sunday, dominating Polokwane as they closed the division gap between the two sides, and for most of the match Baroka looked like they were the side from the Premier Division.

Baroka were boosted by the presence of their captain Olaleng Shaku whose red card was rescinded on Friday because his second yellow card was a case of mistaken identity. His presence at the back solidified their defence that had to be alert with an on-form Thobani Mncwango and Puleng Tlolane leading Rise and Shine’s attack.

The Star

Original source: Another Baroka giant-killing act

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