Cape Town City beat Wits as the champions get title defense to worst possible start
Cape Town City snuck into Johannesburg and pick-pocketed three points from Friday night’s frenetically-paced 2017-18 Absa Premiership opening game where they spent almost the full 90 minutes on the back foot against Bidvest Wits.
It said something about the tasty nature of this encounter that Bidvest Stadium was packed despite a bitter 10degrees Celsius breeze that swept the ground.
Benni McCarthy earned his second win in succession as a head coach after starting with a 1-0 home victory in the MTN8 against Polokwane City.
But the Bafana Bafana striking legend will admit that Lehlohonolo Majoro's 41st-minute headed goal came against the run of play in a game where Wits laid siege to the City goal, but could not breech it.
In the cold, on a slippery pitch, Wits kept their footing and looked completely assured for the first 40 minutes.
With suspended coach Gavin Hunt watching from the sixth row up, they worked to their structure prepared for during the week and moved the ball with confidence against a City still showing the affects of finding their feet under a new coach in Benni McCarthy.
Early on Thabang Monare's drive from just inside the area was cleared off the line by Tshepo Gumede.
On the half-hour Elias Pelembe won the ball on the left of the area and produced as powerful a shot, solidly kept out by Shu-Aib Walters.
Then, against the run of play, from a Lebogang Manyama free-kick from the right Majoro was left in space to head clinically past Moeneeb Josephs.
From the restart, where Gabadinho Mhango replaced Vincent Pule for Wits, within two minutes Bongani Khumalo scrambled the ball over from a free-kick but was ruled offside.
It was the second time Wits had the ball in the net for an over-ruled goal, Keene having done the same in the eighth minute.
Then Mhango was brought down on the right of the area by Gumede, referee Christopher Harrison pointing to the spot. The Malawian forward stepped up for the penalty, struck hard to the left of Walters, whose falling stop was spectacular.
Then, from Sifiso Hlanti's low cross, Keene could not connect from two metres out, City left-back Edmilson Dove rescuing by booting vertically over his own bar.
It was becoming almost comical for Wits in front of goal, as from Mhango's cross Keene headed onto the top netting with an almost open goal beckoning.
Wits had brought on Steven Pienaar for Granwald Scott, then later Daine Klate for Keene, and tried to throw everything at City.
But in the last 10 minutes the Capetonians tightened up, and Wits ran out of ideas.