Cape Town City to face Sundowns in semi-finals
Maritzburg United (0) 0 Cape Town City (1) 1
CAPE TOWN CITY outmuscled Maritzburg United in a very physical encounter in Pietermaritzburg yesterday as they marched into the semi-finals 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 who are still searching for their first victory this season. Maritzburg have lost all three of their matches this season, having already been beaten by neighbours Golden Arrows and Free State Stars in the PSL.
It does not get any easier for coach Fadlu Davids and his team as next up they host Kaizer Chiefs in the league on Friday.
Both coaches made three changes to their starting teams yesterday. Davids dropped Yazid Atouba and Mohau Mokate, while Fortune Makaringe was suspended. He opted to start with Keagan Buchanan, Deolin Mekoa and Keletso Makgwala.
City coach Benni McCarthy brought back Peter Leeuwenburgh, Ayanda Patosi and Siphelele Mthembu, with Sage Stephens, Mpho Matsi and Matthew Rusike making way for the trio.
City’s pressing game was immaculate as they didn’t allow Maritzburg to build from the back, which is one of their strengths.
Mthembu should have put his side in the lead after 27 minutes as Patosi played a pass to the former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates talisman, but he looped 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 manof-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 an 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 Maritzburg in every department and they were the deserving winners.
Meanwhile, City are keeping a close eye on Bafana Bafana star Lebogang Manyama.
Manyama is a free agent after parting ways with Konyaspor in Turkey.
He is currently in South Africa and training on his own.
John Comitis, the chairman of City, revealed that they are interested in bringing Manyama back to the club.
“I had a chat with Lebo and he knows where his home is. At this stage he is not sure (where he wants to go). We will find out next week what he is thinking. Everyone would love to have a player of his quality and we are no different,” Comitis said.
Manyama was at City before making his big European move to Turkey.
In the 2016-17 season, Manyama walked away with the PSL Golden Boot, Players’ Player of the Season and the Player of the Season awards, all while at the Cape outfit.
City will face some stiff competition for his signature though, with both Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns said to be interested in his services.
Sundowns were interested in Manyama even before he moved to Europe. If he does end up at Sundowns, Manyama will reunite with Aubrey Ngoma.
LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Keanu Cupido celebrates scoring City’s winner against Maritzburg at the Harry Gwala Stadium yesterday. BACKPAGEPIX