A witty and crafty Milano United saw off the challenge of Cape Town All Stars, beating them 2-0 in a local derby played at the Athlone stadium.
In a game that started in very slow fashion, seemingly falling short of the top billing that forewent the kickoff of this Cape Town derby. Humdrum is but an understatement if one seeks to describe the first half of this encounter.
Chances were few and far in between, and if anything, the first half was more of a duel between All Stars’ Thembinkosi Lorch and Milano’s Coldrin Coetzee. In the 29th minute, Ranga Chivariro’s searing strike was denied by the crossbar, with Lee Langeveldt, in goals for The Kinnes, a beaten man.
Close calls and poor decision making characterized the half, with not much goal mouth action, and it was but a relief to lock stock and barrel when referee Victor Gomes blew the half time whistle.
The second half started at a much more frantic pace with both teams throwing jabs at each other, all to no avail, closest being Stars’ Zaphaniah Mbokoma, whose 55th minute effort went over the bar after a lovely exchange of passes with the slippery Lorch.
Tables however quickly turned, following an inspired substitution by legendary Milano gaffer Boebie Solomons. Diego Brown brought the much needed impetus turned urgency that brought about The Kinnes’ opening goal.
Brown’s delightful cross fell onto the path of Gregory Roelf, who coolly slotted home from point blank range, sending their fans into delirium.
All Stars tried frantically to pull one back, but all their efforts were thwarted by Naasief Morris, who resolutely marshaled the rearguard with so much aplomb. So watertight was the defense that pundits spoke at length about how great defending has been very much etched in the DNA of Coach Boebie’s style of play, with all the teams he has led.
The second goal was soon to follow, as Roelf completed his brace with a well placed finish, in the 70th minute, putting the game beyond Stars’ reach, and dampening any chances of a comeback.
As has been the norm in all the games officiated by Victor Gomes, drama was yet to follow as Stars’ live wire Lorch turned villain as he was sent off in the 74th minute for serious foul play on Milano’s Brandon Theron.
From then on the game died out and Milano romped to a rather comfortable 2-0 victory, thanks to the influence and industry of Coetzee and a brace from Roelf.