City, Wits in second successive MTN8 semifinal

City, Wits in second successive MTN8 semifinal
Enocent Mkhabela of Platinum Stars battles for the ball with Lebogang Manyama of Cape Town City FC during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Cape Town City FC and Platinum Stars at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town on 23 August 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 25, 2017. 11:30

Cape Town City and Bidvest Wits will meet in the semifinals of the MTN8 for the second successive season, with their first leg clash set for Cape Town Stadium on 27 August 2017, kick-off at 15h30.

CTC booked their place in the last four with a narrow 1-0 win over Polokwane City. Sibusiso Mbonani scored an unfortunate own goal to leave Rise and Shine feeling they were unlucky to lose, but in truth Benni McCarthy’s debut win as a coach should have been secured with a greater margin, given the chances his side created.

By contrast, Wits had to fight back from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw with Golden Arrows, before edging the KwaZulu-Natal team on post-match penalties. It was a fraught match for the defending champions, who had debutant Slavko Damjanovic sent off (one of six red cards dished out) but saw striker James Keene score two goals to become the tournament’s early leading marksman.

As mentioned above, City and Wits met in last season’s MTN8 semifinals - their only cup clashes to date. The Clever Boys claimed a 3-0 home win in the first leg (courtesy of goals from Eleazar Rodgers, Elias Pelembe and Frank Mhango) before playing out a goalless stalemate in the return to secure comfortable progression into the final.

Gavin Hunt’s side didn’t have things their own way in the teams’ league clashes, however, with City winning 3-2 in Johannesburg in the first half of the season, before the clubs played out a 1-1 draw in the return game in the ‘Mother City’. By the end of the campaign, Wits finished as champions, two places and five points clear of the Citizens.

The teams clashed again just last week, meeting at the Bidvest Stadium on the opening weekend of the new 2017/18 Absa Premiership season. City claimed a surprise 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Lehlohonolo Majoro, meaning that the teams’ five meetings across all competitions have produced two wins for the Cape side, one for Wits and two draws.

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