CAPE TOWN – Title-chasing AmaZulu, emphatic 5-1 winners, roared a championship challenge as they rubbed Cape Town City's noses in the lush Cape Town Stadium turf in Wednesday evening's DStv Premiership clash.
AmaZulu led 2-0 at the break and City's first-half capitulation set the seal for a defeat which loomed large when the scoreboard read 3-0, just four minutes into second-half play.
This victory will secure AmaZulu’s second place and just one point behind pace-setters Mamelodi Sundowns who are on 48 points, after 23 games. AmaZulu are on 25 games.
City will remain in seventh position.
After a tedious start, the game suddenly came to life in the ninth minute when visitors AmaZulu capitalised on an early sortie through a goal by Zambian Augustine Mulenga. Twice in the build-up play, AmaZulu lost the ball, but each time recovered possession as City tried to mount attacks from deep inside their half.
Mulenga rifled his shot low past two defenders, from the outside the penalty box, forcing a full-length dive that was ultimately in vain by City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburg (1-0).
The goal strangely signalled a change in the momentum over the next half hour when City enjoyed an overwhelming share of possession but lacked incision and impetus. On countless occasions, City lost the ball in the final third.
AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa dealt with several shots but none really threatened an equaliser and City had nothing to show for their domination.
City suffered another blow that saw them trailing 2-0 four minutes before halftime after defender Tapelo Nyongo scored from the spot. Referee Victor Hlungwani had blown up Leeuwenburgh for a foul on Cape Town-born Luvuyo Memela. He broke clear of the opposition defence and was goal-bound, with only Leeuwenburgh to beat, but he was upended (2-0).
Moments after the second half kicked off, AmaZulu took a commanding 3-0 lead thanks to a goal by Memela's striking partner Lehlohonolo Majoro, a former City player.
Just past the hour mark, AmaZulu went further ahead through a penalty by Memela (4-0)
AmaZulu retained the ability to dominate in key moments of the game in the remaining play. After City's Fagrie Lakay scored a penalty, AmaZulu closed out the goal-fest through midfielder Siyethemba Sithebe, four minutes ahead of the final whistle to round off a stodgy second half (5-1).
The outcome marked a welcome return to the Mother City for AmaZulu mentor Benni McCarthy, who started his coaching career at City.