City continue their winning ways

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Khumalo 31, Rodgers 60

Cape Town City (1) 3

Putsche 12, Manyama 57, 90+

‘TIS the season to be jolly, but you wouldn’t find anyone grumpier than Gavin Hunt at the moment. And it’s with good reason, after his Bidvest Wits side – still considered one of the favourites to win the Absa Premiership title – laboured through another fixture, stretching their winless run to three matches in the last two weeks.

Of course hosting log leaders Cape Town City was never going to be a stroll in the park, but this was a match the Clever Boys needed to win to recover from their wobble.

Instead, their slump continues as they are now four pointts adrift of their Mother City counterparts, who were so eager for the victory, they gave fought until the very end to grab all three points on offer. Their unbeaten run extended to nine games, as they become early pace-setters in the championship race. Hunt was highly animated throughout the night as he again had to make do without core members of a team that has occupied the summit for the most part of the season so far and were crowned MTN8 champions in October. That cup can often be a bad omen, but with the quality in this Wits squad, you’d think they wouldn’t be this lethargic. They slogged their way to a 1-0 victory over Platinum Stars before being held to a 2-2 draw by relegation candidates and league rookies Highlands Park, with SuperSport United bruising their egos by thumping them 2-0 in Nelspruit on Tuesday night.

Hunt was boosted by the return of midfielder Thabang Monare, one of the five players who missed the away game to SuperSport through injury or suspension, and the former Jomo Cosmos man looked lively. But the Clever Boys needed more, getting off to a rough start here when Roland Putsche broke the deadlock as early as the 12th minute to shock the hosts.

It wasn’t too much of a surprise for those who have been watching City, next Saturday’s Telkom Knockout finalists against SuperSport in Polokwane. This team, coached by Eric Tinkler, has done it’s rounds in the Gauteng province against the usual suspects when it comes to challenging for the championship – drawing with Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs and beating title holders Mamelodi Sundowns.

While Tinkler’s men are now considered dark horse in the race for honours, Wits showed the type of inconsistency that’s been their Achilles heel for several seasons now. After Putsche had given the visitors the lead, defender Bongani Khumalo was the hero of a Wits set-piece in the 31st minute. And then his teammate and Wits keeper Darren Keet produced a howler than allowed City back into the lead when Lebogang Manyama capitalised from his failed clearance.

Then his opposite number Shu-Aib Walters attempted to outdo him when he fouled Mogakolodi Ngele in the box barely a minute after City had set themselves up for what would have been a victory showing their intentions this season. Eleazer Rodgers made no mistake from the resulting spot kick, and Wits struggled to add to that tally.

A draw would have probably been a fair result given how high up the Premier League table these two sides are, but it was Manyama who stepped up again to score the winning goal for City. There’s more to come from these Capetonians.

Follow Mazola Molefe on Twitter@superjourno

Independent Media

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