Cape Town City scored a valuable 1-0 win over Bidvest Wits in their MTN 8 semi-final, first-leg match, played at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt, back on the bench after a two-match suspension, was left fuming when five of his defenders were unable to stop home team left wing Ayanda Patosi scoring from close range in the 44th minute. The goal came from a long throw-in from the left into the box which found Sibusiso Masina, who flicked the ball on into the danger area.
The visitors’ could have been level on the stroke of halftime, when the usually consistent City goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters seemed to misjudge a free-kick floated in from the left, but defender Robyn Johannes was able to force the ball away from Wits’ Egyptian striker Gamal Amr.
City went into the match without their inspirational skipper Lebogang Manyama, the PSL Players’ Player of the 2016/2017 season, who was left out of the match following a difference of opinion with coach Benni McCarthy, but on attack, the hosts still looked comfortable.
Wits had a great chance to open the scoring in the 20th minute, when Thabang Monare headed a superb cross from the left from Daine Klate, straight at Walters.
While Wits had the better of the midfield exchanges for most of the game, they battled to contain the pacey men in blue. An example of this was midway through the first half when the visitors’ goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs had to head clear a loose ball halfway between the centre-line and his penalty area as City’s forwards beat the offside trap.
For much of the second half, Wits pushed players forward in a bid to find the equaliser, and created major pressure on the City penalty area.
The semi-final return leg will be played at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg on September 10 with both sides looking to book a place in the final to have a chance of walking away with the winner-take-all first prize of R8 million.
Wits beat City 3-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals of last year’s MTN 8 tournament, and have won the first knockout cup tournament of the season on three previous occasions.
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