TS Galaxy coach Dan Malesela says he felt proud and honoured after striking third time lucky by guiding his National First Division underdogs to the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday.
The Mpumalanga club fought from a goal down to stun favourites Lamontville Golden Arrows 3-1 after extra time in their semi-final showdown at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont.
It was the first time Malesela had reached the competition final after previously taking Chippa United and United FC to the same stage. Speaking afterward, the Galaxy coach was delighted with their effort.
Malesela’s charges came into the game as second favourites behind Arrows and everything looked as though it would be going according to the script for most of the way.
After a goalless first half where Galaxy were pretty on the eye but ineffective in the final third, they fell behind when Knox Mutizwa fired Abafana Bes’thende in front from the penalty spot after 71 minutes.
Sandile Zuke’s own goal in stoppage time then drew Galaxy level, before Zakhele Lepasa’s extra-time brace sealed a stunning win. Malesela felt they were full value for their victory…
In reaching the final, Galaxy became the fourth NFD club to reach the final after Black Leopards, University of Pretoria and Mpumalanga Black Aces.
— TS Galaxy FC (@TSGALAXYFC) April 22, 2019
Malesela says they will celebrate their success, but not overdo it as they still had the deciding game to play, which will be against Kaizer Chiefs next month.
Arrows coach Steve Komphela admitted it was massive missed opportunity for his club to reach a final.
It is now the second time in three years Abafana Bes’thende had fallen at the semi-final hurdle and this one will be particularly difficult to bare considering how heavily favoured they were to win the game.
Their coach admitted they fully deserved to lose the game considering their lack of hunger compared to that of their opponents.
The defining moment Komphela referred to was a gilt-edge miss by goal-scorer Mutizwa to seal the game in the final minutes of normal time at the end of the game.
The Zimbabwean was sent clean through but ended up firing against the upright and from the consequent attack, Galaxy drew level.
The Arrows coach says that missing chances such as those always had a knack of coming back to haunt you.