Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1
Cape Town City (0) 1
At face value, this stalemate seems like another Absa Premiership clash that never got going. But Cape Town City went top of the log for the second time this season - that’s a big deal for a side considered to be only six months old.
Huge credit should go to coach Eric Tinkler, who is making the most of remnants of the Mpumalanga Black Aces outfit that finished in fourth place on the log last season under Muhsin Ertugral, before the franchise was sold to John Comitis and the club relocated to the Mother City for new beginnings.
At the weekend, the Capetonians secured a place in the Telkom Knockout final, where they will face SuperSport United on December 10 at a venue yet to be confirmed.
There are few deserving teams in the Premier Division at the moment and City, even as they were caught napping in some moments against Kaizer Chiefs here, proved why they could be a dark horse in the championship race.
They’ve made great strides, and clawing their way back from a goal down to return home with a point as well being league leaders encapsulated this fairytale run.
City were helped along by the 28th minute red card shown to Kaizer Chiefs left-back Sibusiso Khumalo for a flying tackle on his opposite number Thamsanqa Mkhize.
To send him for an early shower was a bit harsh from referee Victor Gomes, as replays showed, and there is no doubt the reaction from the Tinkler and the rest of the City bench could have influenced the decision taken by the man in the middle. Gomes was in the mood, also sending off a ball boy with the game virtually over.
Chiefs had been the better side until then, even though City were always in it, making sure the encounter remained a contest despite them chasing the game after striker Michelle Katsvairo had given Amakhosi the lead in the fourth minute.
Both goals on the night needed aiding to find the back of the net - Katsvairo getting a touch on George Maluleka’s attempt from outside the box, while Matt Sim came off the bench to hit a long range shot which took a heavy deflection to beat Itumeleng Khune in the Chiefs goal.
So dominant were the visitors much later on in the match the opening goal seemed like a lifetime ago, and Tinkler will berate his men for failing to punish a team that had to make do with a numerical disadvantage.
If there is one thing they need to work on to sustain their momentum, it’s killing off the opposition when they are vulnerable, much like they did when they ruthlessly dispatched Free State Stars 4-1 in the semi-final of the Telkom Knockout to storm into the final.
They didn’t run riot here, but a point was enough to send them top of the Premier League table, while Chiefs stumbled to their sixth game in all competitions without a win.