In an enthralling evening in the KZN Capital City, Terrence Dzvukamanja put the visitors ahead 12 minutes into the second half, with Maritzburg immediately hitting back through a Thabiso Kutumela penalty, before Bongani Mpandle’s heroic two saves in the penalty shoot-out made it a night to remember!
The Team of Choice came out firing from the blocks and nearly got off to the perfect start in the first minute when Kutumela went flying down the right flank before pulling the ball back for Mxolisi Kunene, but his shot was well saved by Wits goalkeeper Ricardo Goss.
In a lively start to the match, the Students also had chances with Thabang Monare striking a volley at Mpandle before Deon Hotto fired wide.
United continued to probe for openings though and looked set to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Jeremy Brockie played in Bandile Shandu, but he was stopped in his tracks by a superb tackle by Hotto.
The Johannesburg-based side had a few more chances before the break but the scoreline remained unchanged as Haashim Domingo fired an effort straight at Mpandle before Dzvukamanja struck a shot over the bar.
Wits came out and put United under some severe pressure after half time and were to take the lead in the 57th minute when Dzvukamanja ran in at the near post on a Domingo corner and glanced home a header.
However, Maritzburg’s response was immediate – when substitute Deolin Mekoa’s cross hit the elbow of Zitha Macheke, a penalty was awarded - which Kutumela thumped home convincingly.
The game was to then become and end-to-end affair as the large crowd in PMB were kept on the their feet as both sides went for the winner.
However, with no clear openings on goal, bar an 87th minute bicycle kick from Dzvukamanja which went close, the game was to head into extra time.
After a tense extra time period, United got the shoot-out underway when Pogiso Sanoka’s spot kick was saved by Goss.
However, Mpandle restored parity by keeping out Phathutshedzo Nange’s kick, and also went on to save Wits’ last effort, from Mxolisi Machupu, while Sifiso Hlanti blazed his penalty over the bar.
Siyanda Xulu, Daylon Claasen and Judas Moseamedi were all successful from 14-yards out as the Team of Choice booked their spot in the quarter-finals.
Starting XI : Mpandle, Xulu, Mngonyama, Morgan, De Reuck, Allie, Kunene, Shandu, Claasen, Kutumela, Brockie.
Subs: Ofori, Sanoka, Moseamedi, Mekoa, Augusto, Nyoni, Sangweni.