Cape Town City claimed a 1-0 victory against Maritzburg United in a heated MTN8 quarter-final clash at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday afternoon, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Following an impressive debut campaign as the Citizens’ coach, Benni McCarthy will look to clinch the MTN8 title after losing out in last season’s final to SuperSport United.
Fadlu Davids’ side have not had the best of starts to the 2018-19 campaign, having suffered two losses from their first two league outings against Golden Arrows and Free State Stars respectively.
Success in the MTN8 offers the Team of Choice redemption after losing out in the Nedbank Cup final last season to El La Koto following an impressive campaign on all accounts.
The encounter got off to a slow start with neither side keen on showing too much in the way of committing numbers in attack.
Deolin Mekoa had the first effort at goal with a stinging effort from close range in the 13th minute, but his effort came off the wrong side of the City post.
The Citizens should have taken the lead on the half-hour mark when Ayanda Patosi put Siphelele Mthembu through on goal, but the striker failed to convert.
City opened the scoring on the stroke of the half-time break when goalkeeper Richard Ofori fluffed his punch at a corner-kick which gifted defender Keanu Cupido the easiest of headers.
The second half was largely marred by a number of ill-timed tackles, particularly from the home side – with referee Victor Hlongwane almost allowing the game to boil over.
City were forced into making two changes due to injury with captain Thamsanqa Mkhize and Mthembu coming off for Craig Martin and Matthew Rusike respectively.
Maritzburg grew increasingly frustrated and enjoyed little in the way of clear-cut opportunities, with midfielders Thabo Nodada and Roland Putsche doing their part in thwarting any danger.
City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh produced a fine save to deny Tholang Masegela’s goalbound effort.
Maritzburg grew in will and looked impressive when the likes of Siphesile Ndlovu and Masegela were on the ball, but City stood firm as McCarthy’s side advanced to the semi-finals of the MTN8 Cup to join Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United.