CAPE TOWN – It was a night of surprises as Cape Town City defeated AmaZulu 3-0 in a PSL fixture at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
After losing to the same opposition in the opening round of the Telkom Knockout in Durban last Tuesday, the Citizens bounced back with a fine home victory in a league match.
City’s log position was looking a bit precarious, so the resultant three points will surely have warmed the cockles of coach Benni McCarthy’s heart.
The first surprise of the night was when McCarthy opted to play Mozambican left back Edmilson in the centre of defence.
It proved to be a master-stroke, as the composed and elegant footballer produced an assured performance alongside Taariq Fielies.
And then, best of all was the fact that City’s victory was founded on the brilliance of winger Surprise Ralani.
The player had been injured for a while, but returned to the starting team on Saturday night to play a starring role in the triumph. Ralani’s touch, guile and confidence created all sorts of problems for the AmaZulu defence.
City took the lead as early as the first minute when AmaZulu goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha spilled a regulation free kick, and Fielies was first to react with an easy tap-in.
Both teams subsequently had some moments, with Emiliano Tade heading over and Nhlanhla Vilakazi firing high for AmaZulu, while Mbatha made up for his early error by saving well to deny Ayanda Patosi and Ralani.
But with the Capetonians looking a much better and more organised unit with the return to the team of Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh, Austrian midfielder Roland Putsche and Fielies, it was only a matter of time before they increased their lead.
It was 2-0 in the 32nd minute when another excellent set-up from Ralani created the opening for Siphelele Mthembu to steer the ball beyond Mbatha.
By the 75th minute, it was 3-0 to City when, after a sweeping counter-attack, Thabo Nodada finished sweetly.
All in all, it looks like City are back in business. They hadn’t been at their best in recent weeks and they’d been struggling to score goals.
On Saturday night, the performance level was vastly improved and, more importantly, the goals arrived.
Now, hopefully, they will be able to bring a touch of consistency to their game.