PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns take on a rejuvenated Maritzburg United in the 2019 Telkom Knockout final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium this evening (18:00).
After reaching their first ever domestic cup final in the 2018 Nedbank Cup, Maritzburg will now made their first appearance in the Telkom Knockout decider, just a year later.
Eric Tinkler’s men were on the brink of relegation when he took over at the start of 2019, and now, they are on the brink of their maiden Cup success, all in the same year. How times change.
It’s a meeting of teams in form – the Team of Choice have lost just one of their last eleven matches in all competitions (Won 5 Drew 5 including six clean sheets), while their opponents have also lost just one of their last eight matches (W5 D2 including six clean sheets) in all competitions.
Maritzburg will be coming up against seasoned campaigners in Sundowns who will be appearing in their 6th domestic Cup final of the last ten years, although their first since 2016.
Pitso Mosimane’s charges are well known for their cup exploits across the continent, having reached the later stages of the CAF Champions League on many occasions in the last few years.
Downs also have recent experience of winning domestic Cups, with the 2014/15 Nedbank Cup and the 2015/16 Telkom Knockout safely in their Chloorkop cabinet.
Yet, Maritzburg will go into this final with a lot of hope. The stats tell how they have gotten the better of Sundowns in most of their recent Cup encounters.
Maritzburg have beaten Sundowns 3 times in the 4 domestic Cup encounters between the sides over the last ten years, once each in the Nedbank Cup ( 2018), MTN8 (2017) and Telkom Knockout (2010).
Sundowns have also not been as dominant in general domestic Cup finals over the years.
Maritzburg’s current form (and the way they knocked out runaway league leaders Kaizer Chiefs in the semis) should set us up for a close encounter.
Below are nine interesting stats ahead of the main event:
1169 – This is the longest wait (in days) between two domestic Cup finals appearances for Sundowns since a 1341 day wait between September 2008 (MTN8 final) and May 2012 (Nedbank Cup final).
7 – Sundowns are making their seventh appearance in the tournament, with Chiefs (10) the only PSL club to have appeared more times since the PSL was established in 1996 (including Rothmans Cup & Coca-Cola Cups).
40% – Sundowns have a 40% win rate in domestic cup finals in the last ten seasons, winning two of the five finals they have appeared in since 2009, the second lowest ratio for teams appearing in at least two finals in the last ten years.
8 – There have been eight matches that have gone into extra-time in this year’s edition of the Telkom Knockout, more than there have been in any TKO tournament since the Cup was relaunched in 2006.
4 – The 4 goals scored by Maritzburg in their 3 games so far in the tournament is the second lowest total for a team reaching the final in the last ten seasons (three other teams scored 3 goals).
9 – The nine goals scored by Sundowns so far in the tournament is the joint-third highest total for a team reaching the final (bettered only by Cape Town City (10) and Sundowns in 2015 (11).
5 – Gaston Sirino has scored in all three Telkom Knockout matches so far (5 goals) – the first player to do so since Dove Wome scored a goal each in the Round of 16, Quarter Final and Semi-finals for Supersport in 2014.
28 – The 28 goals scored in this year’s competition is the exact same number of goals seen in the tournament (excluding extra time) last year, and with one game to go, is the second lowest total in the last ten years (25 in 2017).
8 – That said, the team scoring first in the Telkom knockout final has emerged victorious in eight of the last ten finals. So that will be an added incentive for both teams.
By Opta Jabu