On a rainy afternoon in the KZN capital, United made a blistering start when Lebohang Maboe scored after only 45 seconds. But Phunya Sele hit back with a 76th minute goal for Jacky Motshegwa, before Andrea Fileccia grabbed his third Nedbank Cup goal of the season to seal the win.
The Team of Choice were off to a flyer when after swift break down the left, the ball found Maboe just inside the box, the Maritzburg midfielder doing superbly to drag the ball back past two defenders before sliding a left-footed drive in at the far post.
The team in green came back fighting but it was Maritzburg who almost added a second when Bandile Shandu smashed a curling shot against the crossbar on the 25 minute mark.
United keeper Richard Ofori was called into action five minutes later and he did well to keep out a rasping drive from Lucky Baloyi.
Celtic had Maritzburg under pressure and almost equalised from a corner when Ronald Pfumbidzai powered a header into the crossbar.
The Pietermaritzburg side came out firing after the restart in front of a large home crowd, and after a couple of half chances, it took a fantastic reflex save by Celtic keeper Patrick Tingyemb after Deolin Mekoa had fired goal-wards on the back end of a scintillating counter.
There was work too for Ofori at the opposite end of the park when the Ghanaian shot-stopper kept out a sweetly-struck free kick from Kabelo Dlamini.
Phunya Sele Sele were back on level terms 14 minutes from time when after a goal-mouth scramble, Jacky Motshegwa’s shot deflected past Ofori and into goal.
The Team of Choice sprung back into action though and just four minutes later they reclaimed their lead when Maboe’s precise through ball was brilliantly finished off by Fileccia, the Belgian steering a first time angled shot in at the far post.
Maritzburg had to soak up some substantial late pressure from Celtic, but some committed defending saw them making it through to the final whistle, and with that a place in the semi-finals for KZN Midlands club.
Maritzburg: Ofori, Tlhone, Xulu, Shandu, De Reuck, Maboe, Ndlovu, Makaringe, Matima, Fileccia, Mekoa.
Subs: Mpandle, Van Wyk, Mokate, McDonald, Eksteen, Atouba, Kunene.
Celtic: Dambe, Pfumbidzai, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Gordinho, Lubisi, Dlamini, Baloyi, Hotto, Maruping, Nyundu.
Subs: Tignyemb, Shikweni, Mabasa, Motshegwa, Mabena, Maema, Letsoalo.
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