Stellenbosch Football Club

Rayners & Titus fire Stellies into Carling Knockout semi-finals

Football - 2023 Carling Black Label Knockout - Quarterfinal - Polokwane City v Stellenbosch - Old Peter Mokaba Stadium - Polokwane

Stellenbosch FC advanced to the semi-final of the 2023 Carling Knockout after recording a 2-0 win over Polokwane City on Friday.

Steve Barker’s side have reached a third consecutive cup semi-final after powering to a 2-0 win over Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Stellenbosch made the ideal start to the encounter when Man of the Match Iqraam Rayners fired his side into an early lead, tucking home a first-time finish after being played in by a square ball from Jayden Adams in the seventh minute.

The team from the Cape Winelands doubled their advantage soon after when Devin Titus latched onto a long ball from goalkeeper Sage Stephens and rounded the opposition’s keeper before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.

That’s how proceedings remained until the half-time whistle when Stellies headed into the change room in a comfortable position and with a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard.

Following the interval, it was the away team who came closest to scoring again when Kgaogelo Sekgota saw an effort well-saved by Manuel Sapunga after being played through by a pin-point pass by Rayners.

Sapunga was again called into action from the resultant corner when he made a smart save to deny Genino Palace, before the ball was acrobatically cleared by his defence.

The momentum shifted slightly soon after, however, when the impressive Oswin Appolis forced Sage Stephens into a brilliant save with a curling effort that looked destined for the top corner.

A couple of half-chances were exchanged during the last half an hour of the encounter but it was Barker’s charges who held firm, with the likes of Sihle Nduli, Thabo Moloisane and Stephens all standing out in their endeavours to maintain a clean sheet.

Friday’s victory saw the Maroons advance to the semi-final of this season’s Carling Knockout where they will discover their opponents on Monday evening following the conclusion of the remaining quarter-final matches.