Surprise Rulani’s curling strike on the stroke of halftime was not only his first goal for the men from the Mother City, but also allowed City to register a 2-0 aggregate win and move on to the next round of the continental competition.
Nana Akosah-Bempah’s late goal did the trick in the away leg. In fairness, the Buffaloes seemed to have lost their appetite somewhere between Swaziland and their arrival in SA, with Robyn Johannes and his fellow defenders keeping a close watch on any form of raid presented by the visiting strikers.
Had City taken all of their chances, the score-line could have been an embarrassing one against the Swazi side, but the intention from City coach Benni McCarthy was clear as he gave many of his second string lads a run.
Despite a recent league setback against Kaizer Chiefs, the City focus is clearly still more on a good Absa Premiership finish than anything else.
While City prepare to get their league campaign back on to a winning note against defending champions Bidvest Wits in Cape Town on Friday, coach McCarthy will have taken heart from the showing of some of his young Turks in an African competition, which despite being a home match, cannot be taken as an easy game in no uncertain terms.
For Shu-aib Walters, it was a good clean sheet to have in a season where the experienced goal-minder has been relegated to the bench after some inconsistent performances in the first half of the season.
Again, Tshepo Gumede put his hand up as a man that McCarthy can depend on at the back for the hosts, while upfront, Sibusiso Masina, will feel hard done by that he never found the net against the Buffaloes.
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