Mc­Carthy’s Cit­i­zens out­smart Clever Boys

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - SPORT - MAZOLA MOLEFE AT BID­VEST STA­DIUM

FOR­GIVE Benni Mc­Carthy for get­ting ahead of him­self and think­ing coach­ing is easy – the Cape Town City men­tor is sim­ply rid­ing the wave.

The Mother City club made it five wins in a row yes­ter­day af­ter­noon when, for the third time this sea­son, they brushed Bid­vest Wits aside in a tac­ti­cal game that was killed off by striker Lehlo­honolo Ma­joro’s sec­ond-half strike to guar­an­tee pas­sage to the fi­nal of the MTN8 against Su­per­Sport United, who beat Mar­itzburg United in the other semi-fi­nal on Satur­day night at the Harry Gwala Sta­dium.

Wits, the reign­ing cham­pi­ons of both the MTN8 and the Absa Pre­mier­ship, have en­dured a hor­ror start to the this new 2017/18 sea­son and are yet to reg­is­ter their first win of the cam­paign.

They’d thought it would come here against a City side that was with­out cap­tain Lebogang Manyama for the first time af­ter he joined Turk­ish Su­per Lig out­fit Konyas­por last week, but still looked strong.

Mc­Carthy doesn’t yet know what de­feat tastes like since get­ting his first coach­ing job in top-flight foot­ball, and what prob­a­bly makes it all the more sweeter is the fact that three of the five wins have come against Wits, coached by Gavin Hunt, who handed Mc­Carthy his pro­fes­sional de­but as a young foot­baller when he was in his teens.

City ar­rived at this venue hold­ing a slen­der 1-0 ad­van­tage from the first leg that was played at the Cape Town Sta­dium just prior to the in­ter­na­tional break. They quickly gave it up when Robyn Jo­hannes stuck the ball into his own net fol­low­ing a goal­mouth mêlée in the 12th minute. Wits skip­per Thu­lani Hlatshwayo had claimed the goal af­ter it looked like he’d got­ten a touch to push it over the line, but it was ac­tu­ally his coun­ter­part Jo­hannes who’d helped it over.

De­ter­mined to reach yet another fi­nal hav­ing won the Telkom Knock­out in De­cem­ber last year, coin­ci­den­tally against Su­per­Sport, City fought their way back into this en­counter and forced an own goal from Wits striker Ahmed Ga­mal. The Egyp­tian’s poor at­tempt at clear­ing the ball from a long Ayanda Patosi free kick sailed over goal­keeper Moe­neeb Josephs to draw the vis­i­tors level be­fore half­time.

But the form book prob­a­bly al­ways favoured Mc­Carthy and his men see­ing that they are on a win­ning streak, while Hunt is strug­gling to get the Clever Boys go­ing as they con­tinue to suf­fer from a cham­pi­onship hang­over. Wits dom­i­nated in patches, par­tic­u­larly when young Kodisang Kobamelo had the ball and made him­self a nui­sance to the City de­fend­ers. But City took their chances when they came, like Ma­joro cre­at­ing an op­por­tu­nity to score out of noth­ing to put the game to bed and all but con­firm that Mc­Carthy would be in his first cup fi­nal as coach.

You can’t blame the 2004 Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons League win­ner for get­ting a lit­tle bit cocky.

@su­per­journo

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