Chiefs looked to make it three wins on the trot when they welcomed an impressive and determined City outfit to FNB Stadium.
With both sides still mathematically in the race for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title, the clash promised much excitement.
Chiefs have been hit by a number of injuries this season, but Ernst Middendorp has used the opportunity to look at new talent, and Happy Mashiane was drafted in for his first PSL start after making his first team debut in the Nedbank Cup win over the weekend.
Khama Billiat also returned to the starting XI which would have come as major boost considering that he was the club’’ top scorer with four goals in the league, but he was hoping to rediscover his form after going off the boil.
As expected the opening stages were rather cagey and while City had the likes of Teko Modise and Thabo Nodada holding it down in the middle of the park, possession was being turned over far too easy.
The visitors then received a major blow as Siphelele Mthembu, who was City’s top marksmen with six goals in the PSL, was forced off with an injury with less than 10 minutes played.
This would force the Citizens to change their game plan a bit as Kermit Erasmus, who is a very different attacker was brought on.
Chiefs though looked the more dangerous side in the opening 15 minutes as they looked to hold onto possession and play their way into the box. But City were resolute and used the counter-attack to move forward, creating an intriguing tactical battle in the midfield.
Billiat had one of the first half’s best opportunities and perhaps should have done better when the ball fell kindly for him with the goal at his mercy, but his erratic finish flew well over the bar, allowing City to breathe a sigh of relief.
The Zimbabwean was certainly Chiefs’ danger man and his link-up play with Bernard Parker was proving fruitful, although City keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh was proving a thorn in their plans.
It was a busy half for both keepers as City came more into the game, and after Modise unlocked the Chiefs defence with a trademark defence-splitting pass, Virgil Vries’ initial save from a cross fell into the path of Gift Links, but the Namibian did well to recover and make a smart save to keep his side level.
Ahead of the game, City kept six clean sheets, and Leeuwenburgh’s performance in the first half was proving that as he made a superb save to deny Billiat in a one on one situation, before doing enough to put off the attacker minutes later.
While McCarthy would have been pleased not to be behind, the ease that Chiefs were breaking through his defence was a cause for concern especially as they headed into the half-time break unscathed.
Both teams returned from the break determined to put on an improved showing and McCarthy pulled the trigger early, taking off Modise for Dove, while Chiefs on the other hand, made another change after Kgotso Moleko came off for Siyabonga Ngezana just before the break as Leonardo Castro was introduced.
The Colombian was Chiefs second top scorer heading into the game and Middendorp was relying on him linking up with Billiat in order to find a way past the City defence.
Chiefs scored just 13% of their goals between minutes 45 and 60, but they were unable to build on that statistic as the game was once again a cagey affair. `
However, The Soweto giants were desperate for a goal and Castro forced Leeuwenburgh into another save before Siphelele Ntshangase’s deflected effort rattled the woodwork.
With the tide in favour of City, Vries then did little to win over his detractors as he was once again left with egg on his face, this time after fumbling the ball from a cross and it fell kindly to Dove , who saw his effort trickle over the line.
The drama was not yet over as City were then brought down to 10-men as Zukile Kewuti was given his marching orders for a reckless tackle.
This put City under the pressure in the closing stages but they battled and claimed a rare win over Chiefs which delighted their technical team.