Cape Town City stun Pirates to book Nedbank Cup quarterfinal spot

Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates challenged by Roland Putsche of Cape Town City during the 2018 Nedbank Cup Last 16 football Match between Cape Town City FC and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town on 14 March 2018.
Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates challenged by Roland Putsche of Cape Town City during the 2018 Nedbank Cup Last 16 football Match between Cape Town City FC and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town on 14 March 2018.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates brought a little more than a smattering of rain to drought-ravaged Cape Town, though that only served as an omen in favour of Cape Town City, who dumped the Buccaneers out of the Nedbank Cup last-16 with a Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory.

City coach Benni McCarthy had hoped the forecast wet weather, as rare in the Cape these days as a medium-cooked steak in France, would be realised for the cup game at Cape Town Stadium.

He knows Johannesburg teams do not like playing in the wet in the Mother City.

In-form Pirates were less sturdy in their footing on the slippery surface. City, on the back of two wins in a row, were fired up and dominant in their home conditions, and took a lead via danger man Ayanda Patosi’s 55th-minute strike.

McCarthy’s team were quicker to the ball, then recycled it forward with pace.

Bucs’ in-form Luvuyo Memela was ruled out failing a late fitness test, replaced by Thabo Qalinge.

Coach Milutin Sredojevic gave a start to January signing Augustine Mulenga at playmaker, behind Justin Shonga.

The Zambian partnership did not gel the way Sredojevic would have hoped.

McCarthy strangely had star playmaker Thabo Nodada on his bench.

It was an open, attacking first half of many chances – which was entertaining for the 20 000 crowd, but probably looser than the coaches, especially Sredojevic, might have preferred.

City more than shaded the opportunities and would have scratched their heads at how they went to the break goalless.

Pirates had the first two shots on target. Shonga struck at Stephens, then hit the right upright.

From there City took pot-shots at Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Patosi’s drive was stopped by Mpontshane, with Roland Putsche unable to acrobatically connect a volley from the rebound.

From one of Patosi’s wickedly effective corners Judas Moseamedi got up for the flick-on and Thamsanqa Mkhize at the far post headed a sharp save out of Mpontshane.

Lyle Lakay’s free-kick was won in the area by Taariq Fielies, who shot over.

Pirates showed they were still in the half when Marshall Munetsi’s shot looked to be curling for the top-right corner, but drifted inches wide.

City got the goal they deserved 10 minutes into the second half. Bradley Ralani took on Mthokozisi Dube down the left and squared hard and low, Patosi ghosting through for an emphatically-struck finish.

Sredojevic responded with a double substitution, introducing Thabo Matlaba and Bernard Morrison for Mulenga and Qalinge.

Thembinkosi Lorch headed over as City tried to absorb. Soaking pressure against this Pirates front-line is not an easy undertaking, and in the 78th Shonga broke down the right and his low strike was stopped off the legs of City keeper Sage Stephens.

- Marc Strydom is in Cape Town as a guest of Nedbank.

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