Benni McCarthy got off to a winning start as Cape Town City edged Polokwane City 1-0 in their MTN8 quarter-final encounter on Saturday afternoon, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
McCarthy gave new signings Teko Modise and Lyle Lakay their debuts, but the former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder was withdrawn and subsequently replaced by Thabo Nodada after picking up a knock while warming up. Ayanda Patosi and Taariq Fielies were forced to settle for spots on the bench, while fellow new acquisition Jeitoso was not selected for the match day squad.
The home side got off to a promising start and came close to taking the lead within the first minute, after some good interplay resulted in Lehlohonolo Majoro hitting the side netting.
Polokwane City settled and put the home side on the back foot, with the pace of Vusimuzi Mngomezulu proving particularly threatening.
Shu-aib Walters ensured that the scoreline remained level in the third minute when he reacted quickest off his line to clear the danger from Rodney Ramagalela.
Majoro was put through on goal in the tenth minute after a splitting pass by Manyama, but the forward’s attempted lob was dealt with well by goalkeeper George Chigova.
City had the goal in the back of the net in the 26th minute when Lakay supplied Majoro, but the linesman flagged Majoro for offside, much to the dismay of the home side.
McCarthy’s side A training ground move from a free kick could have seen City take the lead, but Manyama lost his footing at a crucial time for Rise and Shine to clear their lines.
Robyn Johannes ensured that Ramagalela did not give the visitors the lead when he put his body on the line to block the forward’s goalbound effort.
City took the lead in bizarre fashion in the 38th minute when Sibusiso Mbonani’s header back to Chigova landed in the back of his own net.
Lakay should have doubled his side’s lead after being put through on goal by Roland Putsche, but the winger’s effort was cut out by Chigova as City went into the half-time break with a one-goal lead.
Polokwane emerged with more of an attacking intent as they went in search of the equaliser.
Majoro made a nuisance of himself to the Rise and Shine defence in the 54th minute, and it almost worked to his advantage as he got the better of two defenders, but his shot proved tame.
Jabulani Maluleke came close to levelling matters when some good combination play allowed him some space in the area, but his attempted shot to the far post was also tame.
The home side were denied what looked to be a sure penalty when Manyama’s goalbound effort was handled and deflected away from goal, but the referee wasn’t interested in Manyama’s protests.
Patosi was introduced in the 66th minute and made an immediate impact as City continued to launch attacks towards the Polokwane goalframe.
Majoro should have come close to sealing the tie in the 77th minute when a two-versus-one situation saw him being put through on goal, but ‘Major’ was again denied by the goalkeeper.
The visitors threw numbers forward in the last ten minutes, but were unable to find a way past a resilient City defence as McCarthy’s side booked their spot in the semi-final of the competition.
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