Cape Town City appeared to revel in the “home” conditions at a rain-swept Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday night, leaving plucked Swallows FC shivering in the wet in a decisive 4-0 MTN8 semifinal second leg victory.
Winger Surprise Ralani’s goals three minutes before halftime and another on the 67th minute and strikes by Fagrie Lakay 58th and substitute Edmilson Dove 88th capped a polished display by Eric Tinkler’s City.
The 51-year-old former Bafana Bafana star reached the seventh cup final of his coaching career.
Swallows have all the players to be a combination as competitive as their impressive sixth-placed league placing promoted them back to the Premiership last season. But the distraction over the upheaval concerning the club’s technical staff appeared to take its toll.
Against a keyed-up City, slickly set out to press Swallows high and pressurise the Birds with quick movement, Swallows capitulated.
Brandon Truter’s “leave” and assistant coach Simo Dladla taking charge in his absence has coincided with the Birds drawing 0-0 at home to City in the league on Sunday, and then being thrashed in the Cup rematch.
City edged the first half, and the scoreline by a goal. They moved the ball with tempo and pried openings sporadically past Swallows’ well-organised defence.
The first shot in anger came from Citizens striker Mduduzi Mdantsane, turning in the area and hitting over the bar. Strike partner Fagrie Lakay fashioned space in the centre outside the box, striking hard but high.
In Swallows’ best foray Vuyo Mere was played into space on the right and whipped in a cross, with winger Zaphania Mbokoma athletically getting ahead of Taariq Fielies directing a header wide.
But City enjoyed the flow of traffic, Thamsanqa Mkhize crossing and Lakay turning a shot off target.
The Cape side took the lead with a simplicity that is the hallmark of coach Tinkler. Leftback Terrence Mashego took a throw from goalkeeper Hugo Marques, advanced down his flank, and crossed for Ralani to chest down and volley past Vries.
With Swallows needing to score twice because of away goals, they had to come from the break pushing to score.
In the 53rd minute substitute Mwape Musonda chested into the patch of wing Kethukutula Ndlovu to volley past the upright. Then Musonda won an aerial challenge against Nathan Fasika to burst into the box, beat Marques and strike onto the right post from a tight angle.
That was one of those match-altering moments. Almost inevitably, City scored again five minutes later. Substitute Thabo Nodada threaded a perfectly weighted pass for Lakay who, with Vries advancing, scored with a sensational chip from outside the box.
As Swallows pushed numbers forward, City had chances to catch them. Mdantsane’s chip set Nodada free on the right in a three-on-two to advance and square for Ralani to finish his second and the Citizens’ third.
The thumping was completed when, from Mpho Makola’s corner from the left, fellow substitute Edmilson Dove powered home the header.
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