The semifinal over two legs ended 1-1, with Sundowns winning the match 1-0 after City were successful with the same score last week. This forced the contest into penalties.
The match in Pretoria did not really live up to expectations. City had a subdued first half, knowing that they had the upper hand after last week’s 90 minutes in Cape Town.
Sundowns striker Toni Silva had the first opportunity, but his attempt was well-saved by goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburg. Both teams spread the ball around, but there wasn’t really any urgency, especially from the Cape side. City did manage to close down the Sundowns attacks quite efficiently every time the home side were in possession.
In the 14th minute Sundowns appealed for a freekick just outside the box when Kwanda Mngonyama stepped on Silva’s ankle. The referee would, however, have none of it.
City never allowed Sundowns too much room to move. The breakthrough, though, did come when Silva found the back of the net. Leeuwenburg found a Themba Zwane shot too hot too handle. The City keeper could only parry the ball straight at Jose Ali Meza who then fed Silva. The striker made no mistake.
This forced City to up the tempo, but the Cape side found the Sundowns centre back pairing of Mosa Lebusa and Wayne Arendse in fine form.
City’s best moment came when the young Craig Martin collected the ball in his own half and ran at the Sundowns defence. Martin let loose with a vicious shot from just outside the box, but Sundowns’ keeper Denis Onyango did well to keep the ball out of his net.
Chances in the second half were few and far between, with Sundowns coming close near the end. Lyle Lakay and Silva both brought the best out of the young Dutch keeper Leeuwenburg.
With the match ending 1-1 after the two legs, it was left to the lottery of the dreaded penalty shootout.
Leeuwenburg was his team’s big hero when he saved shots form Silva and Anthony Laffour. For City Nana Akosah-Bempah, Teko Modise, Matthew Rusike and Taaqiq Fielies made sure of their penalty kicks.
The Citizens will now play against SuperSport United in a repeat of last years final when the Cape side played second fiddle to the boys of Pretoria. The final is on 28 September.
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