Rodgers knocks Sundowns out

Eleazar Rodgers scored the only goal of the game five minutes after half-time to set up a 2014 Final against SuperSport United after they beat Orlando Pirates 2-0 on Saturday night.

There were no goals in the first half of a hot and sweaty semi-final at Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Teko Modise tried his luck from about 35 yards out early on but it was well wide of new Bafana Bafana call-up Siyabonga Mpontshane's goal.

Stars fashioned their first chance five minutes later following some neat football from the left to the right of the field, Vuyo Mere eventually finding Robert Ng'ambi in the area and his deft turn and shot going straight to Denis Onyango.

Cuthbert Malajila had a half-chance after 15 minutes when Ramahlwe Mphahlele crossed from the right. Mpontshane came out to claim and didn't win it, but did enough to put the striker off as he could only head over.

It was good, open game with both sides playing neat pass-and-move football despite the heat in Phokeng, both sides needing a water break after 23 minutes of play.

On 30 minutes there were half-hearted claims for a Sundowns penalty when Thabo Nthethe got up to head a short corner goalward, but Tshepo Gumede blocked the attempt with his head, with the ricochet hitting his hand, although it would have been a very harsh penalty call as his back was turned.

The Brazilians then found some space down the right as Nthethe's ball forward found Malajila in space. The Zimbabwean found Mozambican attacker Elias Pelembe in the area with a cut-back, but desperate defending from Stars managed to clear the danger.

The game became more end-to-end towards the end of the first half, with quick counters the order of the day. However, both defences were well organised, not allowing any dangerous attacks to flourish.

Just before the break Khama Billiat had a gilt-edged chance to give his side the lead but headed wide from just four yards out with an open goal at his mercy. Mphahlele's cross from the right seemed to dip on him at the last second, but he still should have scored.

The second half started with a bang for Dikwena as Tintswalo Tshbalala, on the right flank, beautifully played in Rodgers with the outside of his left foot. The ex-Sundowns striker outpaced Mario Booysen before slotting into the bottom-left corner to give his side the lead.

The rest of the game took a familiar shape after Pitso Mosimane brought on Mame Niang just after conceding the goal. The Brazilians, while still dominating possession, abandoned their usual style of play and started pumping long-balls up to the tall frontman.

But the Stars defence was solid and dealt with those long-balls with the help of goalkeeper Mpontshane, who improved the command of his area as the game went on.

Sundowns were unable to fashion a clear enough chance as they went in search of an equaliser, with a half-chance, far-post header for Niang the clearest opportunity in the second half following another disappointing performance and result.