Sundowns, Celtic eye Telkom KO glory
Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic will battle for the Telkom Knockout trophy when they meet in the final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 8:15pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).
Sundowns and Celtic have met in nine previous cup matches and the Pretoria team has traditionally come out on top, claiming seven wins compared to two for the Bloemfontein side.
The teams’ most recent cup meeting was in the quarterfinals of the MTN8 last season when ‘Downs emerged 1-0 victors.
This will be the first meeting of the teams in the Telkom Knockout, though they have met in the competition’s predecessors (JPS Knockout, Coca-Cola Cup and Rothmans Cup) five times.
The Brazilians emerged victorious in four of those five matches, including in both legs of a 1999/2000 Rothmans Cup quarterfinal, which is the last time the teams met in the Telkom Knockout or its forerunners.
This will be the first competitive cup final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic.
Overall, the teams have met 58 times in all competitions since 1985. ‘Downs have claimed 31 wins compared to 12 for Phunya Sele Sele, while no less than 15 matches have been drawn.
The Brazilians have strung together a 15-match unbeaten streak against Celtic (across league and cup competitions) which stretches back to 2006.
Included in that run is the teams’ most recent clash, an Absa Premiership fixture at the Free State Stadium this past weekend which ended 1-0 in favour of ‘Downs thanks to a goal from Richard Henyekane.
Sundowns have reached this stage of the competition thanks to outright wins over University of Pretoria (1-0), AmaZulu (2-0) and SuperSport United (1-0) in the last 16, quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.
The Brazilians have matched their best showing in the Telkom Knockout since its inception in 2006: they also reached the final in 2007/08, where they lost on penalties to Kaizer Chiefs.
Overall, the Tshwane side has played 16 matches in the Telkom Knockout, recording 10 wins, two draws and four losses. They have lost both of the penalty shootouts they have been involved with.
Sundowns are two-time previous winners of this competition, lifting the John Player Special Knockout cup in 1990 and the Rothmans Cup in 1999. They have appeared in five previous finals down the years.
Celtic have reached this stage of the competition thanks to a 2-1 win over Chippa United in the last 16, a dramatic penalty shootout triumph over Orlando Pirates in the quarterfinals, and a hard-fought 3-2 win over Free State Stars in the semis.
This is Phunya Sele Sele’s best showing in the Telkom Knockout (or its predecessors), as they have never previously reached the final of this competition.
Overall, the Bloemfontein side has played 13 matches in the Telkom Knockout since its inception in 2006, recording four wins, four draws and five losses. They have won three of the penalty shootouts they have been involved in.