Cape Town City were forced to share the spoils with Baroka after playing out to a entertaining 2-2 draw in their Absa Premiership opener at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
In Benni McCarthy’s second campaign with the Citizens, he managed to lead the club to their maiden MTN8 title as well as a fourth-placed finish in the Absa Premiership last season.
The Citizens bolstered their squad after completing the signings of Tashreeq Morris, Abbubaker Mobara, Bernio Enzo Verhagen and Mpho Makola, respectively.
Meanwhile, Baroka narrowly escaped relegation on the final day of last season after finishing in 14th place in the league, despite winning their first Telkom Knockout Cup trophy.
Bakgaga have won their last three clashes with City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
The visitors showed their intent early on and nearly broke the deadlock in the second minute, but Chris David couldn’t keep his shot down as it sailed over the crossbar.
Baroka grew into the game and produced a chance of their own eight minutes later when Tshediso Patjie forced Peter Leeuwenburgh into making a fine save in a one-on-one situation.
The home side should have taken the lead in the 20th minute but Mduduzi Mdantsane was denied by the woodwork.
However, it was City that opened the scoring two minutes later when Keanu Cupudo headed his effort past Elvis Chipezeze after latching on to a cross from Surprise Ralani.
City then doubled their lead on the half-hour mark when Kermit Erasmus found the bottom corner to claim his first goal of the season.
Baroka managed to pull a goal back in the 33rd minute after Mdantsane made the most of poor defending from City to finish from inside the box.
With four minutes left to play until half time, Patjie levelled matters for the home side after latching on to a well-placed cross from Richard Mbulu.
Leeuwenburgh was called into action early in the second half when he made a save off the line to deny Phiri’s goal-bound effort.
Bakgaga made their first change of the game in the 48th minute when Thato Madigoe replaced Godrey Mosele in the middle of the park.
The Citizens made a change of their own in the 62nd minute when they introduced Craig Martin to replace Ralani in attack.
With 20 minutes left to play, City were dealt a major blow when captain Thamsanqa Mkhize was forced off the field after picking up a knock and had to be replaced by Tashreeq Morris.
Erasmus should have put the game to bed in the final three minutes, but the City striker fired his effort wide of goal after going one on one with Chipezeze.
Neither side were able to secure a late winner as they shared the spoils at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
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