Cape Town City recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 Cup semifinal first-leg match in the Mother City on Sunday.
The Clever Boys will get a chance to avenge the defeat when they host Citizens at the Bidvest Stadium in the second-leg match in two weeks time.
The two sides battled for control of the midfield with Granwald Scott working hard just in front of the Wits defence in the opening stages of the encounter.
The first chance of the match fell for City striker Sibusiso Masina, who found himself behind the Wits defence, but he failed to make contact with the ball.
The Clever Boys looked dangerous in transition and they nearly broke the deadlock in the 20th minute following a good move by the visitors.
Wits’ veteran winger Daine Klate played a good cross into the City box and Thabang Monare forced goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters into a great save.
Robyn Johannes was captaining City in the absence of reported Mamelodi Sundows target Lebogang Manyama and he was marshalling his side’s defence.
The former Orlando Pirates central defender ensured that City backline contained Wits’ new signing Amr Gamal, who was making his debut.
The deadlock was finally broken on the stroke of half-time by the Citizens after the Clever Boys defence was caught napping.
Ebrahim Seedat’s throw in found Ayanda Patosi in the Wits box and the attacking midfielder fired past keeper Moeneeb Josephs to make it 1-0 to City.
Wits did press City for the equalising goal in stoppage time, but the home side stood firm at the back and they were leading 1-0 at the interval.
With his side trailing Wits coach Gavin Hunt substituted Frank Gabadinho Mhango for the experienced Steven Pienaar at the beginning of the second-half.
However, Walters’ anticipation was good as he dealt well with Wits’ long balls in search of Egyptian forward Gamal, who was playing as a lone striker.
The shot-stopper made a comfortable save in the 63rd minute after Kobamelo Kodisang’s cross found Daine Klate, who then headed straight into Walters’ hands.
Pressure was mounting on the City defence and coach Benedict McCarthy made a tactical change in the 74th minute – introducing a defender Edmilson Dove for Patosi.
The Citizens were looking dangerous on the counter-attack and Lehlohonolo Majoro had a chance to double his side’ lead, but he headed wide in the 83rd minute.
Nevertheless, City were able to hold on to their slender lead with Walters denying Kodisang and S’fiso Hlanti in stoppage time and they secured a 1-0 victory.
City (1) 1 (Patosi 44′)
Wits (0) 0
City: Walters, Fielies, Johannes, Mkhize, Seedat, Putsche, Nodada, Masina (Modise 70′), Patosi (Dove 74), Lakay, Majoro (Koapeng 84′).
Wits: Josephs, Frosler, Hlatshwayo, Damjanovic, Hlanti, Scott, Klate (Pule 78′), Monare (Kodisang 59′), Claasen, Mhango (Pienaar 46′), Gamal.