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Cape Town City boost Top 8 hopes after defeating title-chasing Sundowns

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City’s workman-like performance earned them a Top 8 boosting 3-2 win over the title-chasing Sundowns in the Absa Premiership five-goal thriller at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Monday evening.

Despite this setback, Sundowns will remain in second position while City will move into seventh place on the latest standings. Sundowns came into the contest looking to snap a two-match winless Premiership run after successive draws.

City’s defence were called into action straight from the kick-off, and although there was a hint of vulnerability, they kept their lines intact.

It may have been a wake-call and they responded with penetrative attacks down the left flank where Sundowns battled to contain the thrust.

It came as no surprise when City opened the scoring in the 13th minute after a smart 1-2 interplay between striker Amethyst Ralani and midfielder Shane Roberts before the former slipped the ball into the Sundowns goals (1-0).

It was one of many delightful passages of play that followed in the first half, which was marginally dominated by City.

City’s 4-3-3 playing pattern seemed to be working to good effect against Sundowns’ 4-4-2 pattern. City dominated the midfield on numerous occasions they found space in front of the opposition’s defensive lines.

In the 19th minute, City might have added a second goal but Roberts and fellow midfielder Mduduzi Mdantsane collided as they simultaneously tried to pounce on a stray ball, plumb in front of the opposition goal. A glorious chance went begging, and one they might come to rue later.

A 31st-minute Sundowns corner provided a platform to open their account and after City’s shallow clearance, midfielder Themba Zwane let rip with a rasping drive which flew marginally over the crossbar.

City continued to be a lot sharper on the ball in the first half, and there was a further reward in the 43rd minute when central striker Kermit Erasmus produced a deft lob which left Sundowns ‘keeper Denis Onyango high and dry (2-0).

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Pitso Mosimane, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns reacts during the match against Cape Town City at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 17 August 2020. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Two minutes into injury City scored again but this time it was an own goal, courtesy of a header from leftback Edmilson Dove who failed miserably to clear a Sundowns corner (2-1).

City suffered a setback just before the halftime break when key defender Craig Martin retired from the match injured (ankle). In the second half, he was replaced by Thamsanqa Mkhize.

Somewhat against the run play, City reclaimed their two-goal advantage after Ralani scored with a deft chip after Sundowns central defender Wayne Arendse lost sight of the ball after he slipped in his effort to gain possession.

Ralani had the presence of mind to spot Onyango was well off his line and produced a world-class chip for his second goal in the match (3-1).

The goal seemed to dent the confidence in Sundowns’ ranks in the ensuing play and City continued to take the game to their opponents rather than looking after their two-goal cushion.

However, Sundowns found their mojo from around the 75th minute onwards and they produced a pressure spell which the City central defence met with desperate defence. During this time, at least two scoring chances emerged but Sundowns spurned both opportunities.

But a minute into injury time, Sundowns caught City napping with a defence-splitting pass and substitute Keletso Makgalwa supplied the finishing touch (3-2).

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To add to the drama, Sundowns were awarded a close-in free-kick in the final minute of injury time but their effort bounced harmlessly off City’s defensive wall.

@Herman_Gibbs

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