Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City have broken the stranglehold Kaizer Chiefs had over the Citizens.
The Capetonians ended a three-match losing streak to Amakhosi with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
While McCarthy and his team celebrated, Chiefs were bemoaning the absence of Itumeleng Khune, with another mistake from Virgil Vries costing them.
The Namibian failed to connect with Gift Links’ cross, allowing the ball to fall in the path of Edmilson Dove, who had an easy tap-in.
The Namibian, who also cost Chiefs against Mamelodi Sundowns at this venue, has failed to inspire confidence in the absence of the club’s No 1 and captain.
This match was a big test for Happy Mashiane, who received his debut on Sunday against ABC Motsepe League side Tornado, just days after he was promoted to the first team.
He had a field day against amateurs who lacked tactical acumen.
Amakhosi fans even showed their frustration at Ernst Middendorp’s decision when he substituted him.
The Citizens were a sterner test, with Thamsanqa Mkhize and Craig Martin operating on his flank. Mashiane passed with flying colours.
The fullback’s happy feet are going to make Amakhosi happy. He troubled City with his pace, skills and good control.
The fans once again didn’t take it well when Middendorp substituted him. They gave Mashiane a standing ovation in his walk towards the bench.
The only blemish was the number of his incomplete passes. It’s an area of his game that he needs to work on to be a force.
While he needs to work on his passing, his teammates upfront need to work on their finishing.
Chiefs bombarded Peter Leeuwenburgh, but the lanky goalkeeper stood tall.
Leeuwenburgh was a brick wall that Khama Billiat struggled to penetrate. The Zimbabwean forward had a number of chances to beat the Dutchman, but he couldn’t.
Leeuwenburgh snuffed every opportunity Amakhosi created in an entertaining match where both teams gave as good as they got.
This was like a heavyweight boxing bout between two heavyweights who wanted to knock out the other and show everyone that they have what it takes to slug it out with the big boys.
Most of those blows, however, failed to connect to deliver the knockout punch.
The longer the match dragged on at 0-0, the tenser things became.
The Citizens wanted the victory the most, especially since they lost their last three meetings with the Amakhosi.
McCarthy and his bench were highly animated. They jumped high to voice to protest when they felt a decision had gone against them.
City’s bench barked orders, clapped to inspire their teammates and watched a nervous second half anxiously.
McCarthy – who supported Amakhosi growing up and was rejected by the club upon his return from Europe, and vowed to punish them with Orlando Pirates, which he did – couldn’t sit down in a tense affair.
He punished Amakhosi once again on Wednesday night, snatching a win that puts the Citizens three points ahead of Chiefs.
McCarthy lived every touch, with his head going back and forth in an encounter that resembled a ping-pong match at one point.
He wildly celebrated avenging his previous defeats to Chiefs.
This victory was made sweeter by the fact that it came at Chiefs’ backyard and denied Amakhosi the chance to leapfrog City.