Class for Maritzburg
CAPE TOWN City out-muscled Maritzburg United in a very physical encounter in Pietermaritzburg yesterday as they marched on to the semifinals of the MTN8.
Keanu Cupido’s strike was enough to secure victory for the Cape side who will now face Mamelodi Sundowns on August 25 at home and go to the Brazilians in the return leg on September 1.
It was another miserable day for the Team of Choice and they are still searching for their first victory this season. Maritzburg have lost all three their matches in all competitions this season, having already been beaten by neighbours Lamontville Golden Arrows and Free State Stars in the league.
It does not get any easier for coach Fadlu Davids and his team as next up they host Kaizer Chiefs on Friday.
Amakhosi made it to the MTN8 semis by beating Stars and will square up to SuperSport United over two For yesterday’s match,both coaches made three changes to their starting teams. Davids dropped Yazid Atouba and Mohau Mokate while Fortune Makaringe was missing because of suspension. He started with Keagan Buchanan, Deolin Mekoa and Keletso Makgwala.
Benni McCarthy brought back Peter Leeuwenburg, Ayanda Patosi and Siphelele Mthembu. Sage Stephens, Mpho Matsi and Matthew Rusike made way for the trio.
City’s pressing game was immaculate as they didn’t allow the hosts to utilise their strength of building from the back.
Mthembu should have put his side in the lead after 27 minutes after receiving a champagne pass from Ayanda Patosi. But Mthembu sent his shot over the bar with the goalkeeper, Richard Ofori, at his mercy.
Despite the miss, Mthembu ensured City were the more threatening of the two sides as he caused all sorts of trouble with his strength and the ability to hold up the ball and bring his teammates into the game.
Thabo Nodada was pulling the strings in the middle and kept Ndlovu quiet for much of the first half. It wasn’t surprising that Nodada walked away with the Man of the Match award.
The goal came one minute before the interval as Ofori parried Patosi’s corner to Cupido who pounced unmarked at the far post.
Maritzburg came back from the interval more determined and invigorated as they searched for the equaliser.
Mokate made an instant impact and the game became more physical in the second half. Mkhize was rushed to the hospital after suffering a head injury while trying to win the ball against Bokang Tlhone. Craig Martin came on for him.
The hosts’s frustration grew and tempers boiled over which compelled the referee, Victor Hlungwane, to intervene.
Nodada was marvellous to watch for City,breaking up all the good moves that Maritzburg tried to conjure up.
City outclassed United in every department and they were the deserving winners. BALL CONTROL: Bandile Shandu of Maritzburg United, right, takes on Thabo Nodada of Cape Town City for possession of the ball during their MTN8 quarter-final at Harry Gwala Stadium yesterday. The Citizens won 1-0 and will next face Mamelodi Sundowns in the two leg semi-finals. The other semif-final will be contested between Kaizer Chiefs and defending champions SuperSport United. Dates and venues to be confirmed.