A frustrating Kaizer Chiefs fell to a resilient Cape Town City at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night. Despite the home side’s dominance in possession, Benni McCarthy’s men were able to sneak in a late winner and will travel back to the Mother City impishly smiling at the realisation that they got away with one here.
Ernst Middendorp, on the other hand, will likely lash into his charges who conspired to miss chance after chance and sent the Amakhosi faithful home muttering and swearing.
The flow of the game was set from the first whistle. Chiefs passed the ball around calmly and neatly, looking for an opening they could exploit. The Citizens equally showed they had no ambition to be adventurous and happily buckled in to brace for pressure.
It wasn’t long until the fixture had a bite to it, however, as Siphelele Mthembu was hauled down and forcibly substituted. A couple of exchanges later and McCarthy was screaming at the fourth official for justice — eliciting howls from the nearby stands.
Once it all simmered down, Khama Billiat had the first of his many chances in the 18th minute. The ball floated beautifully above him but his acrobatic attempt didn’t materialise into what he had envisioned.
Only two minutes later the Zimbabwean was sent through the right side of the box but his shot was too tentative and was ultimately saved easily by Peter Leeuwenburgh. City would have their own turn to be tame as Thabo Nodada shot right at Virgil Vries after being found on the penalty spot.
Not to be outdone, Billiat would then go on to waste the best chance of the game after Hendrick Ekstein sold a dummy to give him a one-on-one. Once more he made the keeper’s life easy and delivered it to him front and centre.
Precious little changed after the teams came out for the second half. Chiefs probed; City deflected.
The crowd rarely had an excuse to get on their feet until Siphelele Ntshangase unleashed a vicious long-range missile. The shot turned into a pinball in the box and agonisingly deflected onto the bar.
Then Vries decided to do something awfully silly. A harmless cross was floated in from the right, destined for his gloves … before somehow being dropped into the mass of blue in the box. Edmilson Dove was ultimately the one to scramble home and give the Capetonians the unlikeliest of leads.
Billiat and Leonardo Castro would threaten some more but ultimately never put Leeuwenburgh in any notable discomfort. Zukile Kewuti would also find time to get himself sent off for a rash challenge, except it was too late to influence the outcome.
A 1-0 Soweto-and-run for McCarthy but he’ll happily take the result that solidifies fourth place and sends his side three clear of the night’s opponents.