The clash promised to be an enthralling encounter with both sides in impressive form going into the first leg encounter. But with the away side having one eye on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Nedbank Cup after dispatching of Bidvest Wits in midweek, coach Benni McCarthy in particular rang the changes.
The former Bafana Bafana striker opted to give his starting XI a unique blend of youth and experience with Teko Modise a notable absentee. McCarthy also used the opportunity to give newly promoted youngster Shane Roberts his debut in the heart of the City midfield. But most importantly City were also without star striker Matthew Rusike who could not be registered in time following his deadline day transfer.
Nonetheless, despite the changes, City were continuously frustrated by the plucky Swaziland outfit, and went into the half-time interval level. The second half though, was more of the same as it was proving to be a tightly fought encounter with both sides cancelling each other and neither side able to find the opener.
That was until the 85th minute of the clash. While the game looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate, City striker Nana Akosah-Bempah broke the deadlock, much to the delight of the City technical team.
The USA-born forward’s strike would prove to be the decisive goal as try as Buffaloes did they could not find an equaliser.
The 20-year-old’s strike not only gave City a morale boosting victory on their maiden Caf voyage, but also saw them secure an all-important away goal at the Somhlolo National Stadium.
The second leg will now take place on February 20, and with the Mother City-based outfit kicking into gear, the City technical team will certainly favour their chances going into the clash.