Cape Town City's Ayanda Patosi celebrates as he put his team in the lead against Orlando Pirates. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Ayanda Patosi produced another fantastic goal as Cape Town City defeated Orlando Pirates 1-0 at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon  and, in the process, ensured that Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned league champions for the eighth time.

With Pirates losing , and with one game to go, Sundowns, after a 3-1 win over Ajax Cape Town in Atteridgeville, now have an unassailable lead at the top of the PSL standings. 

Sundowns have 59 points and Pirates are on 52.

As For City, the win takes them on to 40 points, and in to fifth position on the log.

For City coach Benni McCarthy, the victory over former club Pirates would surely have left a bitter-sweet taste. He won the league title with Pirates in 2012 - now, six years later, as a coach, he has denied the Soweto club a shot at another.

Patosi, it was another example of his goal-scoring ability; he has delivered some crackers for the Cape side this season, and he did so again to dent Pirates' title hopes.

The opening 25 minutes of Saturday's clash was a tight, tactical affair which resembled a chess match. It was a battle of wills and wits as the two sides probed for openings and tested for weak areas. As such, chances were few and far between, with only City's Mpho Matsi managing shot at goal which flashed wide.

The Soweto club had come with the clear intention of pressing City high and not allowing them any space to build up. But, despite this, the Capetonians still managed to play some smooth passing football in the face of this high press. They stayed calm and composed in possession  and produced some slick combinations to shake off the attentions of the opposition.

But Pirates then got stronger as the game progressed, with Luvuyo Memela and Justin Shonga proving troublesome for the City defence, and Robyn Johannes and Tariq Fielies were forced into making some timely interventions to keep their team in the game. 

There was also a good shout for handball in the penalty area on Johannes, but the referee wasn't interested. And then, as football so often would have it, during this period when Pirates were getting on top, City responded with a great counter-attack, and Patosi fired a fantastic shot to put the Cape side into the lead in the 35th minute.

The Buccaneers came out strong in the second half, determined to get back into it. They flung everything at City  Thabo Qalinge  forced a save from City goalkeeper Sage Stephens from a free-kick and, soon after, the same player struck a smart volley against the cross bar. 

Qalinge had another glorious chance seven minutes before the end, when clean through on goal, but was foiled by a courageous, point-blank save from Stephens.

But there was to be no breaking down of a resolute City. They kept their shape, ran, tackled and played with admirable commitment in keeping Pirates at bay. The always unruffled Johannes was superb in defence, ably assisted by Fielies and the excellent Thami Mkhize; Matsi worked his socks off as the holding midfielder and every City player, to a man, played his part in the victory. But, again, if a name has to be singled out, it has to be the indefatigable 

Thabo Nodada. The industrious City midfielder was a dynamic presence, both in attack and defence, acting not only as a linking presence but also in providing an inspirational figure for the rest of the team to take the lead from.


IOL Sport

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