Livewire wing Bradley Ralani was given time to move into a scoring position and then fire in a thunderbolt that sailed into the back of the AmaZulu net. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Livewire wing Bradley Ralani was given time to move into a scoring position and then fire in a thunderbolt that sailed into the back of the AmaZulu net. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Sloppy Citizens blow lead to draw at home with Usuthu

By Mike de Bruyn Time of article published Jan 8, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City blew a two-goal lead as they were held to a 2-2 draw by AmaZulu FC in their Absa Premiership clash at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.

The Citizens remain in 11th place on the log standings on 17 points while Usuthu move up one to 15th on the same number of points.      

City gave away possession too easily in their half under no real pressure while also being sloppy with their inter-passing. It allowed the men from KwaZulu-Natal to gain in confidence and begin to threaten in the final third.

Usuthu’s striker Bonginkosi Ntuli was able to fire in a shot at Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh that didn’t trouble the tall fellow but it was a warning short across the bow of the Capetonians to be at the ready to deal with the threats posed, especially down the right flank where Siyethemba Sithebe looked menacing under the watchful eye of marker Edmilson Dove, who had earlier on been brought down by yellow-carded wing Sbusiso Magaqa.

The home side then gave their supporters something to smile about in the 16th minute when livewire wing Bradley Ralani operating on the left flank was given time to move into a scoring position and then fire in a thunderbolt that sailed into the back of well-beaten keeper Niel Boshoff’s net.

Midfielder Roland Putsche then doubled the advantage with a similar effort to that of Ralani and City seemed headed for an easy evening at the office.

But once again the last line of defence that has leaked more goals than any other of the team in the competition wavered as AmaZulu hit back with a goal from Ntuli.

They had a chance to draw level when Lehlohonolo Majoro was left unmarked inside the six-yard area and put in a header that only required better placement from the marksman to find the target. But three minutes before half-time the men in green drew level with Ntuli on the mark after City at the second attempt failed to clear their line.

The home side’s coach Jan Olde Riekerink made a double change at the start of the second half with midfielder Thabo Nodada and forward Chris David making way for new signing Mdantsane Mduduzi and Mpho Makola respectively, the Dutch tactician no doubt wanting more thrust and bite going forward. The two midfielders needed to find Kermit Erasmus at the top of the formation who to this point had been kept quiet but for the odd assist.

“Let’s go, let’s go” chanted the City faithful who sensed a change in fortunes. Let’s remember that their men had only tasted success three times before from 16 games. But it was the other side to get another shot away, this time sub Sphesihle Maduna having a crack from outside the 18-yard box but straight into the gloves of Leeuwenburgh.

Erasmus, who has scored seven goals so far, was then left to shake his head when he fired over the crossbar. Hard-working Riyaad Norodien also tried his luck moments later but his effort was blocked. Then another two cracks at Boshoff who wouldn’t be beaten, his last save denying Ralani his brace.

Putsche lined up a free-kick from five metres outside the penalty area, struck it well and low but just too wide of the right upright.

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Game on heading into the last 20 minutes.

The chant was back but not helping much no matter how hard City tried in forcing the issue. They dominated the closing stages moving play left and right but couldn’t seal the deal against a gutsy rival determined not to return home empty-handed.

One final attempt by the hosts with sub Shane Roberts not able to make it count from close range.

Mike de Bruyn

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