Johannesburg — Cape Town City came from behind to salvage a point against Royal AM as the two teams played to a 1-all draw in a DStv Premiership match at DHL Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Royal AM remained second on the log standings with 44 points, four ahead of the Citizens who moved to third, although the fourth-placed Kaizer Chiefs were in action later on.
Pre-match, City had stated that they’ll challenge the PSL's likely decision to allow their match against Chiefs to be played after Amakhosi were a no show for their league encounter at FNB Stadium due the outbreak of Covid-19 at their base in December.
But with the hearing of that case set for May 10, in the interim, the Citizens will have to control what they can and win matches.
After enjoying an unbeaten run in their last seven league matches this year, the two teams came into this encounter eager to keep that momentum.
The Citizens, though, were tipped as the favourites given that they had won back-to-back league matches where they scored six goals.
City lived up to the lofty billing after the start, exerting the pressure on the visitors. They were unfortunate not to score on the 20th minute mark after Thabo Nodada rattled the crossbar from close-range following a cut-back from Craig Martin.
Although that was City’s first real chance of the game, they had wasted a chance earlier after Jared Rhodes put his sliding volley into the stands.
However, midway through the first half, Royal AM started to find their rhythm as well. So much so that they were unfortunate not to break the deadlock after Victor Letsoalo shaved the side netting after benefitting from a loose ball inside the box following a corner-kick.
By the half-an-hour, though, the playing field was level, with both sides minimising the tempo of the game as they built from the back.
It was Royal AM’s build-up play that nearly worked for them after Nathan Fasike lost possession to Mxolisi Macuphu who teed up Victor Letsoalo before the latter laid the ball for Kabelo Mahlasela who unceremoniously put his shot wide of the target.
From one mistake to another, City were inviting trouble for themselves in defence. Goalkeeper Hugo Marques served a poor clearance that got as far as Ndumiso Mabena who set-up Macuphu. But the latter’s turning shot also sailed wide of the target.
However, on the stroke of half-time, Thwihli Thwahla finally made their reliance count as Macuphu put them ahead with a hard and low cross into the far post after City’s inability to deal with a Mabena corner-kick.
City were arguably the better team in the second half as they dominated possession and created scoring chances. But they were let down by their poor finishing and delaying tactics, especially from Khanyisa Mayo.
However, the Citizens were rewarded for their efforts as Mpho Makola’s corner-kick forced an own goal out of defender Zukile Mkhize.
The second placed chasing Royal AM will be disappointed by the draw after taking the lead, but they’ll be eager to add a cherry on top of their impressive breakthrough season by winning the Nedbank Cup. They’ll play Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-final.