Western Cape Vodacom League regional champions, Milano United, secured automatic promotion to the National First Division after defeating Soshanguve Sunshine by one goal 1-0 to finish top of Group B, on day 4 of the 2012 Vodacom League National play-offs at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Thursday (5 July). The victory also books them a spot in the Grand Final on Sunday, where they will face either Baroka FC or Roses United.
Group A is set up for a thrilling conclusion after Baroka and Roses both won their penultimate fixtures ahead of their promotion-deciding meeting on Friday (6 July). Local heroes, Baroka outclassed Northern Cape’s Morester Jeug 5-0, courtesy of double strikes from Gift Motupa and Peter Maema and another goal Thobani Mncwango.
However, Roses, maintained their two-point advantage at the top of the log with a 2-0 triumph over Maritzburg City, their goals coming from Aaron Lepele and Lehlogonolo Makauta. The result left the Free Staters only needing to draw Friday’s encounter to assure themselves of NFD football next season – and a place in Sunday’s final – while Baroka will need to win the match to pip them at the post.
Milano’s Yusuf Abrahams maintained his record of scoring in every match to date with a 46 th minute strike that proved decisive in a very tight encounter, in which the winner would reap the rewards of a long, hard season of toil. Despite a valiant effort, the North West side were unable to penetrate Milano’s well-organised rearguard and they emerged as worthy winners in the final analysis.
Victorious coach, Theo Hempe could barely contain his joy after his team completed the group phase with a 100% record.
“We are absolutely delighted,” he beamed. “We played the whole week to a strict, disciplined game-plan and now that we have achieved our objective, we shall be more relaxed for Sunday’s final and the people will see the best of what we are capable of producing.”
“Congratulations to Milano United on a fantastic achievement. Their dominance of their group has demonstrated that they are worthy of playing at a higher level, where they should aim to emulate the remarkable achievement of last year’s Vodacom League champions, Chippa United, who have recently won promotion to the PSL,” said SAFA’s Director of Competitions, Jeff Monnakgotla.
In the other Group B match between the two teams already eliminated, Batau FC (Mpumalanga) overcame Tornado FC (Eastern Cape), 2-1.
Friday’s ‘final before the final kicks off at 13h00 at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Saturday is a rest day with the final scheduled for 15h00 at the Seshego Stadium.