Cape Town City booked their place in the Nedbank quarter-finals after claiming a comfortable 3-0 victory over Highlands Park at Cape Town Stadium on Friday evening, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Benni McCarthy’s side came into this encounter off the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat to AmaZulu in their Absa Premiership encounter last Saturday.
However, the Citizens advanced to the last 16 after claiming a comfortable 2-0 victory over SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup opener at Cape Town Stadium through goals from Thato Mokeke and Thamsanqa Mkhize.
Meanwhile, Owen Da Gama’s men came into this game high in confidence after securing a 2-1 win over Bidvest Wits in their last league encounter last Saturday.
The Lions of the North progressed to this stage of the tournament after eliminating AmaZulu on penalties in the last 32.
The Citizens showed their intent early on and had the first chance at goal when Surprise Ralani latched on to a cross in the area before hitting it on the half-volley, but his effort was well saved by Highlands keeper Marlon Heugh.
Peter Shalulile nearly gave the visitors the lead in the sixth minute when he hit the crossbar after attacking a set-piece before the ball bounced back into his path and towards goal, but City keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh did enough to keep his effort out.
The home side were dealt a major blow in the 15th minute when Roland Putsche was forced off the field through injury and was subsequently replaced by Teko Modise.
Thabo Nodada did well to beat his marker before finding space in the midfielder and unleashing an effort from distance, but his strike sailed over the target.
At the other end, Sphiwe Mahlangu came close to breaking the deadlock three minutes later when he rattled the woodwork before the ball was clear by the City defence.
The home side continued to press forward in search of an opening goal as Kermit Erasmus brilliantly played Nodada through on goal, but the midfielder hesitated to shoot and his chance went begging as the game went into the half-time break locked at 0-0.
The home side picked up where they left off in the first half and dominated proceedings in the second half, while Highlands were trying to catch City out on the counter.
City’s persistence paid off in the 61st minute and they eventually broke the deadlock when Erasmus drove at the Highlands defence before firing an effort at goal, which was well saved, but Thamsanqa Mkhize was in the right place at the right time to slot the rebound home.
Both sides opted to make changes after the hour mark, with Siphelele Mthembu coming on to replace Nodada for City, while Highlands brought on Sabelo Nyembe for Lindokuhle Mbatha.
The Citizens then doubled their lead after 71 minutes when a looping ball fell into the path of Craig Martin just outside the box, and he showed his composure by controlling the ball before volleying his effort into the net.
McCarthy’s side then extended their lead even further two minutes later when Luckyboy Mokoena played a back pass to Heugh, who let the ball slide right over his foot and into his own net.
Highlands had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 83rd minute, but Suhayl Allie fired his free kick straight into the hands of Leeuwenburgh.
The home side managed to hold on to their comfortable lead until the final whistle to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup.
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