Cape Town City's Thamsanqa Mkhize celebrates after scoring the only goal during their Absa Premiership match against Baroka FC at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City claimed a clutch win in the Absa Premiership on Sunday afternoon, defeating Baroka FC 1-0 at Cape Town Stadium to rise off the foot of the table.

The relegation six-pointer was decided by a second-half goal from Thamsanqa Mkhize, with the result sending the Citizens up five places to relative comfort of 11th place, while Bakgaga dropped to 16th (last) on the log.

Baroka were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men early in the game when Sbonelo Ngubane chopped down Chris David in midfield and received only a yellow card – a light punishment for a reckless challenge that could have severely injured the City player.

The Cape side enjoyed more of the ball in the opening half hour, but the Limpopo visitors looked dangerous on the counter attack, most notably in the 26th minute when they created a fine chance for Gerald Phiri Jr, but the forward fluffed his shot.

City’s build-up play lacked the pace and intensity to trouble Baroka’s defence, and they were very nearly sucker-punched on the counter attack in injury time before the interval, with Tshidiso Patjie shooting narrowly wide with only goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh to beat.

The second half continued in the same pattern as the first: City bossing the ball but offering little to no threat, while Baroka provided danger from counter attacks and broken play. The first change of the game came from the hosts, who introduced Thato Mokeke in place of Roland Putsche five minutes after the hour mark.

And City broke the deadlock shortly thereafter, with captain Thamsanqa Mkhize heading home from a lofted left-wing cross by David in the 66th minute.

The goal forced Baroka to play higher up the field and City began to create chances to add to their advantage, none better than one created for Thabo Nodada with just under 10 minutes to play, but the midfielder was denied at close range by both Elvis Chipezeze and the post.

Baroka had opportunities to draw level, with substitute Ranga Chivaviro sending an effort narrowly wide in the 88th minute, but ultimately the Citizens were able to see out the game and claim three crucial points to propel them up the table.

The teams will return to Premiership action on Wednesday 8 January, with City at home to AmaZulu and Baroka travelling to face Golden Arrows.

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