Another miserable day leaves Team of Choice still searching for their maiden victory this season
Maritzburg United (0) 0
Cape Town City (1) 1
Keanu Cupido 45’
Cape Town CITY outmuscled Maritzburg United in what turned out to be a very physical encounter in Pietermaritzburg yesterday as they marched on to the semi-finals of the MTN8.
Keanu Cupido’s strike was enough to secure victory for the Cape side who will face Mamelodi Sundowns on August 25 at home before travelling to Pretoria to face Masandawana in the return leg on September 1.
It was another miserable day for the Team of Choice and they are still searching for their maiden victory in the 2018/19 season. United have lost all three their matches in all competitions this season. They have now succumbed to Lamontville Golden Arrows, Free State Stars and Cape Town City.
As can be expected the pressure is mounting for United coach Fadlu Davids.
Both coaches made three changes to their starting teams with Davids dropping Yazid Atouba and Mohau Mokate, while Fortune Makaringe was missing because of suspension. He had opted to start with Keagan Buchanan, Deolin Mekoa and Keletso Makgwala.
In the other camp, Benni McCarthy also tinkered with his side as he brought back Peter Leeuwenburg, Ayanda Patosi and Siphelele Mthembu. Sage Stephens, Mpho Matsi and Matthew Rusike made way for the trio later on.
Both sides put their bodies on the line in physical and aerial tussles for the ball early on.
City’s pressure game was immaculate as they didn’t allow United to build from the back -which is one of their strengths.
Mthembu should have put his side in the lead after 27 minutes as Patosi played a champagne pass to the former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates talisman, but he looped his shot over the bar.
United have not been the same at the back without their former captain, Bevan Fransman. They have been sloppy, fragile and shaky. In their two league matches, United have conceded four goals which is a poor return from the team who were the second-best defensive unit last term.
City was the more threatening of the two sides with Mthembu causing all sorts of troubles with his strength and his ability to hold on to the ball and bring his teammates into the game.
Thabo Nodada, meanwhile, was pulling all the strings in the middle of the park for City and kept Ndlovu quiet for much of the first half. It wasn’t surprising that Nodada walked away with the Man of Match award.
The goal finally came just one minute before the interval as goalkeeper Richard Ofori parried Patosi’s corner to Cupido, who pounced unmarked from the far post.
City could have played the first half without the goalkeeper and they would have escaped unharmed and unhurt; for the entire period Leeuwenburg was purely a spectator.
Being a goal down United came back from the interval more determined, but Nodada was marvellous to watch for City, breaking all the good moves that United were trying to conjure up. Leeuwenburg was finally in the game and was equal to the task as he produced a magnificent diving save to deny Tlou Masegela.
On the day City outclassed United in every department and they were the deserving winners.