Cape Town City romped to a 5-0 win over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership match at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
A brace each from Roland Putsche and Gift Links, as well as a strike from Siphelele Mthembu, secured all three points for Benni McCarthy’s Citizens, who move to fourth place on the table. Ea Lla Koto remain in 13th place, just four points above the danger zone.
City were on top from early on, with the hosts giving Gift Links and Craig Martin the freedom to attack Stars’ defence.
The first chance of the half came from Roland Putsche, who shot wide of the mark in the 11th minute, failing to test Badra Ali Sangare in the Stars goal.
The next scoring opportunity for the Citizens arrived on 35 minutes, with Links picking out Martin in the penalty area, but the winger failed to trouble the goalkeeper with his header.
However, just a minute later, City’s pressure paid dividends when a corner kick saw Putsche take advantage of some slack marking to head home and put his team 1-0 up.
The Cape side made a change early in the second half when they replaced Thabo Nodada in midfield with veteran Teko Modise.
And their positivity was soon rewarded with a penalty, as Thamsanqa Mkhize was fouled in the 18-yard area. Putsche took on the spot kick and converted in the 51st minute to double both his and the team’s goal tally for the night.
Any hope Stars had of fighting their way back into the game disappeared on the hour mark when forward Sibusiso Hlubi received a straight red card for a bad challenge on Mkhize, reducing the visitors to 10 men.
City soon capitalised on their numerical advantage, with Links firing home a shot in the 62nd minute, before Siphelele Mthembu got in on the scoring action and added a fourth in the 71st.
The hosts took their foot of the pedal in the final stages of the match, but still came up with a fifth goal to complete the rout, with Links completing his brace in the 87th minute.
The teams will return to Absa Premiership action on February 2, with Cape Town City away to Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars at home to Polokwane City.
Cape Town City (1) 5 (Putsche 36’ 51’ pen, Links 62’ 87’, Mthembu 71’)
Free State Stars 0
City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhize, Kewuti, Fielies, Mngonyama, Putsche (Norodien 68’), Nodada (Modise 48’), Mokeke, Links, Martin, Mthembu (Erasmus 73’)
Stars: Sangare, Mobbie, Mahamutsa, Mbhele, Phungwayo, Jappie (Maruping 70’), Makhaula, Mokhuoane, Dlamini (Jantjie 64’), Tchilimbou (Rodgers 75’), Hlubi