Posted on December 20, 2017 09:22:01 Filed in Sport
American Nana Akosoh-Bempah scored in his first start for Cape Town City to inflict a 1-0 defeat on leaders Mamelodi Sundowns Tuesday and open up the South African title race.
The 20-year-old finished off a four-pass, box-to-box counter-attack on 27 minutes by pushing a cutback past Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.
It proved the only goal of a lively match at a venue better known for hosting Super Rugby side Northern Bulls and, occasionally, the Springboks.
Sundowns remained leaders despite the setback with 28 points, four more than Cape Town and six ahead of Kaizer Chiefs, Baroka and Free State Stars.
But the gap would have been nine points had the 2016 CAF Champions League winners triumphed instead of suffering a first defeat in eight league matches.
Well-organised City soaked up the pressure helped by several fine saves from Sage Stephens, and nullified the threats of midfielders Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda.
"We frustrated them," boasted Cape Town coach Benni McCarthy, a former star South Africa striker who won a 2004 UEFA Champions League medal with Jose Mourinho-managed Porto.
"My boys were amazing -- brave and disciplined -- and for all the possession Sundowns had they rarely threatened to hurt us.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said playing a fifth match in 13 days caught up with his team and admitted City were far fresher.
"Cape Town entered the game with a well rested team and it showed whereas we did not have the legs to match them tonight.
"We had plenty of the ball but possession does not win matches and my boys were sluggish in the final third.
"No coach enjoys losing, but the loss is not a disaster. We can absorb it and are still on course to regain the title."
Sundowns, a club bankrolled by mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, have won the Premiership a record seven times while the closest Cape Town came was finishing third last season.
The last South African league fixture of the year is scheduled for Wednesday with Bloemfontein Celtic hosting 2017 CAF Confederation Cup runners-up SuperSport United.