By CHRIS TOTOBELA
Local football fans were treated to a feast of football on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the 2019 edition of the New Year’s Cup.
With the knockout matches concluded on Saturday, the 24 December action got under way with Manchester United taking on Bhisho Stars. This encounter proved how cruel the game of football can be: Bhisho Stars undoubtedly played the best football in this encounter, but were booted out of the NYC with two soft goals that could have been dealt with much better. Manchester United marched on to the semis with a narrow 2-1 victory.
Next up was home side MARU, who did not give Black Brothers a chance to breathe.
MARU started the game like a house on fire, but struggled to find the back of the net for the first 25 minutes. They eventually took the lead when Melikhaya Ngesi headed home a well taken free kick to give MARU the lead.
While Brothers were still overcoming their shock, Sandile Mali capitalised on their poor defence and headed home from a corner kick to double the lead. The halftime score was 2-0 to MARU.
The home side scored their third goal immediately after the break, when Melikhaya Ngesi punished another defensive error by Brothers with a well placed shot.
Black Brothers ran out of ideas and looked very nervous by the time Asanele Nkatsha put the final nail in their coffin, tapping in from close range.
The referee put Brothers out of their misery when he blew the final whistle with MARU marching on to the semis with a 4-0 victory.
Once again, football lovers packed JD Dlephu stadium on Christmas Day to see for themselves who would join the other two teams in the semis.
In the first game, New Brighton Academy came from a goal down to overcome Graaff Reinet United by two goals to one. Peddie Legends also came from a goal down in their clash against Dream boat to claim victory by 3-1. This game was halted for 10 to 15 minutes as Dream Boat fans manhandled an assistant referee and threatened to invade the pitch – but the situation was defused and the game carried on.
Local football lovers can count as their Christmas present the fact that MARU is still on track for their quest for the third NYC title.