Cape Town City keep their championship dream alive
Cape Town City kept their noses ahead in South Africa's Premier Soccer League with another dramatic scalp on Tuesday as the prospect of a fairytale triumph in their maiden season remained on the cards.
But the latest round of PSL matches sent out an ominous warning to all the teams chasing the title as defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns continued their stealthy creep up the table and moved into second position after beating Ajax Cape Town 2-0 in Pretoria.
It was a result that moved Sundowns two points behind City in the standings but, with two games in hand, the Brazilians are effectively in pole position after winning a fourth successive league game without conceding a goal.
They have overtaken Bidvest Wits, who over the last week have let slip a three point lead over Sundowns.
Wits were handed a hammer blow at home on Tuesday when SuperSport United beat them 1-0. The goal from Thuso Phala restores the outside chances that SuperSport have, although they are nine points adrift of the leaders with a game in hand.
Effectively the league remains a five team race with exactly one month left before the final round of matches on May 27. City lead Sundowns by two points, followed by Wits and Chiefs a further two back.
Sundowns and Wits have to squeeze seven matches into the space of some 30 days while SuperSport have six left to play and City and Kaizer Chiefs five each.
It is a taxing schedule which is exacerbated for Sundowns by the start of their African Champions League group campaign on May 20.
"It is very tight and I think there will still be a few more surprises along the way," said City manager Eric Tinkler after Judas Moseamedi scored three minutes into stoppage time to hand the club a 3-2 home win over Chiefs. City were only created last June when John Comitis bought the franchise of Mpumalanga Black Aces, renamed the club and moved it to the Mother City.
The encounter at the Cape Town Stadium was one of the best of the season with an end-to-end flow and characterised both the good and bad of the South African game.
A relentless tempo, good touches and passing were capped by a trio of brilliant individual goals in the first half, with City leading 2-1 at the break.
But it was followed by a series of horror misses by both teams in the second half before the dramatic conclusion.
City play just two more games at home and have SuperSport away in their remaining programme and will effectively have to rely on clubs helping them to keep Sundowns in check.
The African champions must still meet Wits and Orlando Pirates away. Wits also have Pirates and Chiefs ahead while SuperSport meet Chiefs this weekend.
It means enough heavyweight clashes to suggest one or two more surprises before the conclusion of the campaign, although there is no doubt Sundowns are now well placed to win a third championship in the last four years and emphasise their dominance of the domestic game.