HIGHBURY are through to the provincial playoffs of the Nedbank Cup Safa level after beating Real City 3-1 at the Zwide Stadium on Saturday.
The northern areas outfit received a walk-over in the first semifinal of the tournament after Jeffreys Bay Milan arrived late at the stadium and the referee ruled that Highbury should go through to the final of the province’s southern district Safa Eastern Cape Second Division competition.
Meanwhile, City surprised many people when they beat Morning Stars 4-3 on penalties in the first semifinal of the day.
Stars scored two quick and easy goals in the first half of the game but City came back in the second half and equalised.
In the final, Highbury made their point clear from the outset when they dominated the ball possession in the first half.
City were playing a defensive game, but at times they pushed their players forward in search of a goal. However their distribution was disappointing.
Highbury attacked from the midfield and often sent in crosses to penetrate City’s defensive system.
Highbury’s Farouk Abrahams opened the scoring in the first half and he doubled the score before the half-time break. Both teams showed signs of weariness close to halftime with players often losing control of the ball.
City came back strongly in the second half, determined to catch up with their opponents, and they were rewarded when they scored their only goal of the game.
Highbury’s midfielder Mangarosi followed the coach’s instructions during the interval and he scored the third goal for his side.
City tried to get back into the game but the concentration of defenders in front of Highbury’s goals kept them at bay.
Highbury were determined to win the game and they introduced three of their substitutes in the second half to keep their team fresh.
City struggled at the back because their defenders were often under threat from Highbury’s strikers.
The match ended with the score 3-1 in Highbury’s favour.
In achieving the win, Highbury booked themselves a position in the provincial semifinals to be held later this month.