City edge Maritzburg in five-goal thriller

Cape Town City ended a three-match winless run in the DStv Premiership with a 3-2 victory over a spirited Maritzburg United at the Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday.

Mduduzi Mdatsene’s early goal from a defensive error helped the Citizens lead 1-0 at the break, before Fagrie Lakay doubled the advantage four minutes after the restart.

Substitute Lelethu Skelem gave the home side hope with a well-taken strike 20 minutes from the end, but Tashreeq Morris headed in a key goal to restore the two-goal advantage with eight minutes to play.

And despite Bongokuhle Hlongwane pulling a goal back at the death, it came too late for the Team of Choice as they slipped to a seventh loss of the season – one that leaves them in 11th place, a spot behind City, who remained 10th three points clear but with three games in hand over their opponents.

In a free-flowing encounter in the Mother City, the home side were ahead after only 11 minutes when a horrendous error by Alfred Ndengane saw his weak and indecisive back pass towards goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt intercepted by Mdatsene and fired into an empty goal.

Both sides then had further chances to score, with the best of those falling to Daylon Claasen, who could only strike over.

Mdatsene also fired over just on the half-hour, Lakay did everything right, including rounding the goalkeeper, only to shoot into side netting and Morris headed over from the centre of the box.

After the break, the striker made amends, though, when he doubled City’s advantage.

Morris was the provider as he crossed from the right to the edge of the box where Lakay fired in low beyond Engelhardt.

Then came the fightback from the KwaZulu-Natal side. Replacement Lelethu Skelem was played in by a raking ball from midfield after 70 minutes and the forward controlled expertly, before thumping in.

There were then chances to level for the visitors that they wasted and they were made to pay when Morris was left unmarked in the middle to make it 3-1 with eight minutes to go.

Skelem’s persistence down the right was rewarded with three minutes to play as he powered inside and played in Hlongwane, who cut the gap back to a goal.

But it was all too late as City held on.

Cape Town City (1) 3 (Mdatsene 11’, Lakay 49’, Morris 82’)

Maritzburg United (0) 2 (Skelem 70’, Hlongwane 87’)

TEAMS

Cape Town City: Marques, Martin, Fielies, Mashego, Fasika (Cupido 46’), Morris (Morris 85’), Mokeke, Makola (Goedeman 92’), Lakay, Mdantsane (Mokhuoane 82’), Nodada.

Maritzburg United: Engelhardt, Claasen, Ndengane, Ritchie, Human, Ntshangase, Rae (Skelem 46’), Graham, Kewuti, Hlongwane, Theron.