CAPE TOWN – Three second-half goals on Friday night saw Cape Town City through to a comfortable 3-0 win over Highlands Park in a Nedbank Cup last-16 tie.
All the goals came in a 13-minute period after the hour mark as Thami Mkhize put the Cape side ahead, before a Craig Martin beauty doubled the advantage, and then Highlands Park keeper Marlon Heugh gifted the hosts an own goal.
Cape Town City were in control for most of the first half as far as possession was concerned at the Cape Town Stadium.
But even though they did create a couple of chances, it was the visitors who came closest to scoring.
Highlands’ first opportunity came after just five minutes – Peter Shalulile coming within inches of registering the opener after he struck the crossbar with a close range volley before the rebound flew off his knee and towards goal, only for home keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh to claw the ball off the line.
City regained control, but still they struggled to create openings.
Once more it was the men from up north who threatened to break the deadlock as Sphiwe Mahlangu got up well to meet a cross on the half-hour mark, only for his thumping header to rock the crossbar.
The hosts finally made some inroads in the opposition box towards the end of the first half, but the score-line remained unchanged.
Mkhize’s shot was saved by Heugh, who also got down well to keep out a first-time effort from Teko Modise, who was trying to guide a cross in towards far post.
After a cagey start to the second stanza by both teams, the Citizens struck in the 60th minute.
After a neat turn by Kermit Erasmus on the edge of the box, he sent in a stinging low drive which Heugh could only parry, allowing for Mkhize to fire the ball into the net from 10 yards out, his shot going through a defender and the goalkeeper’s legs.
City pressed forward for another goal, and Heugh was called into action again on 65 minutes, reacting sharply to turn Martin’s deflected shot around the post.
There was, however, little the Highlands Park keeper could do when Martin controlled a weak clearance just outside the big box in 70th minute, and then rifled in a sublime volley into the top corner.
Three minutes later and the contest was pretty much over, after Heugh lost his cool trying to control a back-pass from Luckyboy Mokoena, and saw the ball deflecting off his foot for an own goal.
While the visitors had a couple of sniffs in the closing minutes, City also had chances to add to the score-line, although those proved immaterial.
They wrapped up the 3-0 win with ease to join neighbours Cape Umoya United in the quarter-finals after their penalty shoot-out win over Mbombela United earlier on Friday.
African News Agency (ANA)