CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City were made to work hard for a 1-0 victory over a gallant AmaZulu at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
The result rocketed the Cape side into second position on the PSL standings on 21 points, four behind the leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
But the win is all City can be grateful for.
Again, they squandered far too many opportunities, especially in the first half. The opening 45 minutes, in fact, summed up City's predicament over the last few weeks. They hogged possession and played some really neat, intricate passing football, but were just unable to convert their opportunities. At the same time, while dominant, they were always vulnerable to a counter-attack from the opposition.
Chances there were aplenty in the first half for the Cape side. Sibusiso Masina was foiled by a superb tackle by AmaZulu defender Phumlani Gumede, Craig Martin shot high and Masina had another chance which he headed wide.
Martin's pace then took him in the clear again, but his first touch let him down, Roland Putsche headed wide and the best opportunity accrued to Nigerian Victor Obinna moments before the break, but he stabbed the ball agonizingly wide.
And, yet, with all the possession, territory and scoring chances, it can be said that City were fortunate to go in at 0-0 because goalkeeper Sage Stephens had to make a brilliant save from Sduduzo Dlamini to keep City in the game. AmaZulu had just that one opportunity on the break and they very nearly made the Capetonians pay.
City, in fact, had another scare five minutes into the second half when a header from AmaZulu's Siyethemba Mnguni looked to be gliding in, and it needed another great stop from Stephens to keep the score goalless. The opportunity, though, seemed to galvanize the Durbanites into action and they became far more prominent on the attack.
With AmaZulu in the game, and giving as good as they got, the second half was a much more even contest - and City never had it as easy with regard to space and opportunity as they did in the first half.
In the final 10 minutes, though, City ratcheted up the pressure. They stormed forward in search of the winner and hit the woodwork twice - through substitutes Nana Akosah-Bemba and Teko Modise - before Austrian Putsche bundled in a decisive goal five minutes before the end.