Cape Town City storm back from 2-0 down for dramatic win against Wits

Riyaad Norodien of Cape Town City celebrates goal with Benni McCarthy, coach of Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 02 March 2019.
Riyaad Norodien of Cape Town City celebrates goal with Benni McCarthy, coach of Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 02 March 2019.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Cape Town City ensured that an Absa Premiership race that has consistently swung in fortunes would remain a four-way one with a dramatic recovery from 2-0 down to a 3-2 victory against Bidvest Wits on Saturday night.

City's witty media officer Vusi Ntimane had hilariously posted on Twitter that the Capetonians were going to Wits' "tennis court" - the compact, outdated Bidvest Stadium - for the three points.

He could not have known, though, how the match would materialise as a tennis tie-breaker.

Thulani Hlatshwayo headed Wits in front in the 29th minute, and Gift Motupa's 42nd-minute penalty made it 2-0. Kermit Erasmus scored his second for City to bring them back into the game in the 47th. They equalised in the 53rd through Surprise Ralani.

City's spectacular reversal was completed by Riyaad Norodien's 68th-minute free-kick.

The Citizens, whose week in Gauteng might have gone pear-shaped after losing against leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday, remain in the hunt, along with Wits, Downs and Orlando Pirates.

'Student' Benni McCarthy, who beat 'teacher' Gavin Hunt - the coach who gave him his professional playing breakthrough at Seven Stars - four times last season, masterminded possibly his best win against Wits yet.

The first half, though, had all gone a bit wrong for City.

They had some early chances. Kermit Erasmus slipped Hlastwayo's challenge and curled one around the post. New Dutch signing Chris David produced a nifty side-heel, culminating in Norodien chipping Darren Keet from the right, past the opposite upright.

But Wits started to look the better structured side.

Lehlohonolo Majoro could not profit put through when City's defence were caught narrow. Then Hlatshwayo was found free on the right from Granwald Scott's cross to easily nod past goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh.

Wits' second came from Majoro being brought down on the line on the right of the box by Ebrahim Seedat. Referee Eugene Mdluli adjudged the foul inside the area, and Motupa stepped up to roll a penalty past Leeuwenburgh.

McCarthy was never going to allow City - whose final chance of challenging perhaps rested on a win in this game - to not go down fighting. They did more than that, blasting their way back into the game with ingenuity in attack and lightning that struck not twice, but three times.

Within eight minutes of the break the Cape side had cancelled Wits' two-goal lead they had slogged so hard for in the first 45 minutes.

McCarthy seems to have high regard for David, throwing the 25-year-old who once played six games for Fulham in at the deep end with a start six days after being signed.

David showed skill again on the edge of the area, then a neat pass too to put Erasmus through the middle to finish past Darren Keet.

Then Erasmus turned provider. The ex-Bafana Bafana forward's fine backheel played in Ralani, who tried to round Keet, lost the ball, won it back and shot for Robyn Johannes to clear - Mdluli ruling the ball had crossed the goal-line.

Norodien's free-kick powerfully beat the wall and Keet into the top-right corner.

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