SuperSport United dealt Cape Town City’s league hopes a fatal wound with a hard-fought 4-2 win in Tshwane on Tuesday night.
The league newbies badly needed the three points to keep Bidvest Wits (57) and Mamelodi Sundowns (54) in check but in their time of need, their resolution was found wanting. Their rock solid defence also let them down when they needed to make themselves known.
With the first and second placed sides facing relegation strugglers Free State Stars and Baroka FC on Wednesday, it wouldn’t be stretching it to say Cape Town City’s 2016/17 fairytale has reached it’s painful and inevitable conclusion.
It wouldn’t be stretching it to say that Cape Town City’s 2016/17 fairytale has reached it’s painful and inevitable conclusion.
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Before they warmed up, Cape Town City burst out in song and the intent from their vocal chords permeated into their onfield play.
After a terrible defensive error from the hosts, Lehlohonolo Majoro blasted the ball in from close range in the seventh minute.
With Shu-aib Walters having made a wonderful save to deny Thuso Phala two minutes earlier, it was a crucial score in the context of the league race.
Eric Tinkler’s side were third at the start of the match. What the fixture lacked in fluidity because of stoppages because of the abrasive nature of the game.
It needed a moment of passing magic from Phala, whose 30th minute defence splitting pass gave Thabo Mnyamane a free run despite Walters’ attention and the clear handball missed from Mnyamane by far side assistant referee Kenny Mamegwa and referee Phelelani Ndaba.
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Cape Town City boss John Comitis cajoled his players from the VIP area and sensing the urgency of their situation, they took the game to the hosts but Stuart Baxter’s side had something to prove after their mid-season slump stunted their title hopes.
Clayton Daniels’ 49th minute goal to give SuperSport the lead was evidence of this as the defender determinedly bundled the ball past Walters after the keeper did well to keep out Mnyamane’s freekick.
To be fair, Walters had a less than convincing night, especially when came to his decision making on aerial balls.
An example of this was a set-piece three minutes later that he failed to clear. Ebrahim Seedat’s block and Mnyamane’s selfishness saved his blushes.
If the SuperSport winger had passed to Reneilwe Letsholonyane, it could have been curtains for the visitors.
Cape Town City’s tenacity knows no bounds and their 61th minute equaliser from captain fantastic Lebogang Manyama’s penalty was well deserved.
Clumsy SuperSport rightback Michael Boxall played a risky hand by making contact with Majoro and Ndaba quickly pointed to the spot.
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In the process of the spot kick, Manyama scored his 13th goal and overtook stunted Orlando Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro in the race for the Lesley Manyathela golden boot award.
Sibusiso Masina’s selfishness near SuperSport’s box, from where he was dispossessed by Dean Furman, was punished by Jeremy Brockie’s 75th minute goal.
With the ageless Letsholonyane locating speedy substitute Aubrey Modiba, Thamsanqa Mkhize’s inability to intercept the pass led to the cross, which Brockie finished.
Phala landed the knockout blow in referee’s optional time when he tapped in Modiba’s unselfish cross.
- TMG Digital/TMG Sport/Times Live
PHOTO:Thuso Phala of SuperSport United celebrate scoring a goal during the Absa Premiership match between Polokwane City and SuperSport United at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on May 06, 2017 in Polokwane, South Africa.
Image by: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images