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Itumeleng Khune inspires Warriors FC to win over Amabutho FC in Compact Cup

Itumeleng Khune of the Warriors during the Compact Cup match against Amabutho FC. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Itumeleng Khune of the Warriors during the Compact Cup match against Amabutho FC. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Jan 22, 2022

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Durban - Itumeleng Khune was in inspirational form as he helped Warriors FC to a 2-1 win over Amabutho FC and set up a final showdown with Coastal United FC next week.

Warriors FC coach Dylan Kerr lauded his shot-stopper for the impact he had on the match.

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“Khune was fantastic today, all the credit goes to him. He hasn’t played football for a very long time but he is a class goalkeeper and was the difference today.”

Kerr also praised the youngsters who had an opportunity to feature for his side on the day.

“I saw a lot of character from the young players today, I also saw a lot from the smallest players as well. These boys can play and you can only appreciate tournaments like these for giving these players a chance.

Kaizer Chiefs-bound midfielder, Siyabonga Sithebe gifted Warriors FC the opener in the 49th minute.

The Amazulu man recovered the ball in a packed penalty area and stabbed the ball past an on-rushing Veli Mothwa to give Kerr’s men the lead.

Amabutho grabbed the equaliser in the 69th minute through an unfamiliar source in Golden Arrows defender Nkosinathi Sibisi.

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Sibisi was on hand to tap in and make it 1-1 after Itumeleng Khune had done well to deny Leletu Skelem from point-blank range following a cleverly worked free-kick routine.

Monnapule Saleng scored a goal worthy of winning any game, firing past Mothwa in the 86th minute.

Mduduzi Tshabalala, who had just come on, found Saleng with a pin-point cross, the Swallows striker did well to control inside the box and struck a low shot into the bottom corner.

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A star-studded Warriors FC side lined-up against a strong Amabutho FC outfit that might have felt more at home at the illustrious Moses Mabhida Stadium in the second semi-final of the DStv Compact Cup.

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Amazulu FC captain Makhehleni Makhaula led his side out against a perfectly balanced Warriors team that featured veteran goal-minder, Khune and serious firepower upfront with Keagan Dolly of Kaizer Chiefs leading the line alongside on-form Orlando Pirates striker, Kwame Peprah.

Amabutho dominated the opening half hour of this match, retaining and rotating possession at will, managing a number of fouls in dangerous areas and attaining corners as they searched for a breakthrough.

Pule Mmodi had the two better chances of the first half, the best coming in the 29th minute as Khune showed his class to deny him the opening goal.

The Golden Arrows speedster whizzed his way past Njabulo Ngcobo and left him for dead on the right flank, he then raced through towards the Warriors goal and attempted to sneak his shot in the first post but Khune did well to block.

The Warriors made three changes at halftime as the technical team looked to add fresh legs and tempo into their game. While Amabutho brought on Bonginkosi Ntuli for Daylon Classeen with coach Lehlohonolo Seema searching for that edge in the final third.

The second half brought about a great deal of excitement as both sides traded blows at different intervals with the aim of avoiding the dreaded penalty shoot-out by claiming a winner.

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