By Michael Madyira
Cape Town Spurs further handed themselves an advantage in their bid for Premier Soccer League promotion following a 1-0 playoffs victory over Casric Stars at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday.
Morne Nel struck, with 18 minutes to go, to separate the two sides as Spurs defied some numerical disadvantage following a 65th-minute red card to forward Ashley Cupido.
It was a result that saw the Urban Warriors go six points clear at the top of the table ahead of their last match away at Maritzburg United where they will travel without suspended Cupido next Wednesday.
But Shaun Bartlett’s men could have their PSL status confirmed as early as Saturday if Maritzburg drops points against Casric on the road.
Bartlett was left in tears after the match, knowing they are so far in firm control of their destiny on a rain-soaked afternoon that ended with Casric reeling out of contention for promotion.
The Mpumalanga outfit has lost all their three matches while Spurs enjoy a 100% record in these playoffs.
Spurs thought they deserved to be awarded a penalty in the 18th minute when Cupido was fouled inside the box by Jeremiah Mathonsi but referee Michael Mosemeng waved play-on.
Two minutes later, Therlo Moosa forced a fine save from Casric goalkeeper Ludwe Mpakumpaku before Cupido returned but his headed effort crashed against the crossbar.
It was a period of sustained pressure by the hosts who also saw Michael Morton’s volley going just over the bar.
Four minutes before the break, Casric survived another attack and had to thank Ofentse Thloloe for his goal line clearance of Rushwin Dortley’s header.
Casric forays rarely troubled the Urban Warriors and Spurs’ dominance continued after the break.
Bartlett’s side then suffered a big blow when their top marksman Cupido was shown a red card with 24 minutes remaining following an altercation with Ngoanamello Rammala.
But Spurs defied being a man down when Nel placed the ball into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot to separate the two sides.
It took 82 minutes for the visitors to have a real chance at goal when Rammala’s low shot attracted a desperate save from Spurs goalkeeper Lincoln Vyer, who made another stunning block in stoppage time.
Pictured above: Cape Town Spurs forward Ashley Cupido
Image source: Cape Town Spurs