LINKS GOAL A LATE GIFT
GIFT Links was understandably delighted to score the 89th minute winner for Cape Town City to give his team a 1-0 win over Supersport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night.
“First of all I would like to thank the man upstairs because it is by his grace that I am doing the work that I am doing,” he said.
“I’m very, very happy because I’ve got the goal that I’ve been waiting for for a very long time.
“My teammates told me to relax and that today I would win the game for us, and that’s what happened, so I’m very happy.
“I should have scored earlier with my first chance that I missed that left me disappointed, so when I got the last chance from a cross from my captain that took a deflection I wanted to finish it, and I did.”
The Citizens move up three places to sixth in the standings, while Matsatsantsa drop out of the top three to seventh (23 points).
With this result City completed a season double over their Pretoria rivals having won 2-0 on the opening day of the season in August, but they were fortunate this time after being outplayed for most of the encounter that saw the 8.15pm start of the game delayed by 20 minutes due to lightning, thunder and rain.
When the sides took to the field it was the hosts who dominated proceedings, and better finishing from United would have seen them going into the break a couple of goals to the good.
That said, City’s second-choice goalkeeper Sage Stephens was on guard throughout and pulled off a couple of stunning saves to keep his side in it; not to mention being at the right place at the right time to save other on-target shots in the half.
City failed to string together any meaningful passages of play and it left coach Benni Mccarthy scratching his head trying to figure out how to break down a well-organised opponent and get some momentum going.
But the Cape raiders made a game of it in the second half.
“We needed to run it a bit more; everything was really static and we were slow to everything, but the minute we started moving around and creating spaces for us to receive the ball in that’s when were we were able to find lots of pockets for our front men Kermit (Erasmus), Siphelele Mthembu and Gift, and that’s when we were having joy,” said Mccarthy.
“Also the three changes that we made saw the guys coming on doing what was expected of them.”
New signing Erasmus had a quiet outing and only got one shot in that sailed way over the crossbar.
He and fellow striker Mthembu failed to make the kind of impression Mccarthy would have wanted, and it was no surprise when the coach subbed his leading goal scorer Mthembu for Ayanda Patosi in the fourth quarter.
Links was the main threat for the United defence and his winning goal was a top-class effort that won him praise from his coach.
“Gift’s goal was well-taken.
“It’s not easy to take it from the air and hit a first-time volley, so well done to him for his longwaited goal,” said Mccarthy.
Links (20) made a number of darting runs in the final third though he missed a couple of earlier chances, one a one-on-on situation with United keeper Ronwan Williams.
But when it mattered, and with his side under severe pressure in the closing stages, he stepped forward and emphatically did the job for his teammates who will owe him more than just a pat on the back, as they will share half of the R1.5-million the club won for being the team to pick up the most points (16 from a possible 21) in the last seven rounds of the competition.
BROKE HIS DUCK: Gift Links of Cape Town City was relieved to finally put a ball into the back of the net for his team on Saturday evening.
PLUG THE HOLES: Milutin Sredojevic coach of Orlando Pirates will have to tweak the team’s defence, as they are still letting in far too many goals.