Cape Town City broke their winless streak in the DStv Premiership in fraught style on Saturday evening, defeating Golden Arrows 4-3 at the Cape Town Stadium.
Having failed to win any of their previous four league matches, the Citizens clicked into top gear and looked on course for an emphatic victory, going 4-0 up thanks to goals from Fagrie Lakay, Thamsanqa Mkhize, Mduduzi Mdantsane and Craig Martin.
However, Abafana Bes’thende put up a terrific fight in the second half and netted three times – through Pule Mmodi, Nkosinathi Sibisi and Nqobeko Dlamini – almost completing an incredible comeback.
The result sees the Cape and Durban sides in 11th and 10th places respectively, though City have played one game less.
City looked the more settled and fluent team from the early stages, with their first clear chance arriving on nine minutes when a good passing move culminated in Craig Martin stabbing a shot on target which was well saved by Arrows goalkeeper Max Mbaeva.
On 22 minutes the Citizens claimed the lead, with Martin doing great work to occupy a couple of defenders before shifting the ball to the unmarked Fagrie Lakay, who swept home a right-footed shot for 1-0.
Just two minutes later the Cape side doubled their advantage: Thabo Nodada’s pass from midfield picked out the out-to-in run of overlapping right-back Thamsanqa Mkhize, who rounded Mbaeva, evaded a defender and then stroked the ball into an empty net for 2-0.
City took total control of the game with a third goal in the 39th minute, as Mduduzi Mdantsane took full advantage of a mistake from Mbaeva: the ‘keeper’s attempt to play a pass from the edge of his penalty area was intercepted by the midfielder, who then provided a classy chipped finish into an unguarded net.
Three goal down at the break, Arrows opted for a double change at the start of the second half, introducing Michael Gumede and Siphamandla Sabelo off the bench.
Yet it was City who almost netted a fourth goal in the early minutes after the restart, with Mdantsane latching onto a loose ball in the penalty area and striking for goal, but defender Thabani Zuke smothered the ball almost on the goal line.
Yet it was not long until the score moved to 4-0, with a superb counter attack on 58 minutes seeing Lakay sprint free down the left before playing a perfectly-weighted square pass to find Martin, who fired home into the top corner to put the result beyond any doubt.
Arrows, to their credit, did not allow their heads to drop and pulled a goal back on 61 minutes: Pule Mmodi latched onto Sbonelo Cele’s low cross from the left and struck home from close range to reduce the deficit to 4-1.
The visitors got another goal on 81 minutes, as captain Nkosinathi Sibisi scored from a penalty – the spot kick was earned by Nqobeko Dlamini, who was clumsily fouled by City substitute Khanyisa Mayo.
Dlamini then set up a thrilling finale when he scored himself in the 87th, stabbing home a low, left-footed shot through a crowd of players after City had failed to deal with a cross from right-back Siyavuya Ndlovu.
However, there was no fourth goal for the Durban side, with the hosts able to hold out and secure victory – albeit under far more stressful circumstances than they would have thought possible at the hour mark.
Cape Town City will next be in action on Saturday 30 October when they face Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium, while Arrows’ next match is a DStv Premiership assignment at home to Swallows FC on Tuesday 2 November.
Cape Town City (3) 4 (Lakay 22’, Mkhize 24’, Mdantsane 39’, Martin 58’)
Golden Arrows (0) 3 (Mmodi 61’, Sibisi 81’ pen, Dlamini 87’)
CITY: Marques, Mkhize (Morris 64’), Fasika, Fielies, Edmilson, Nodada (Makola 82’), Mokeke, Mdantsane (Makhuoane 82’), Martin, Ralani (Mayo 64’), Lakay (Ajagun 76’)
ARROWS: Mbaeva, Ndlovu, Sibisi, Zuke, Cele, Dlamini, Ndwandwe, L. Dube (M. Gumede 46’), Mmodi (Fikizolo 76’), Magubane (Sabelo 46’), Mutizwa
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