Cape Town City to face Sun­downs in semi-fi­nals

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - Mi­nenhle Mkhize

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

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