Johannesburg – Cape Town City defied a downpour and lightning in Soweto on Wednesday to trounce Swallows 4-0 and reach the South African MTN 8 knockout competition final.
In the October 30 title decider, City will face Mamelodi Sundowns, who were almost as ruthless on Tuesday as they hammered Golden Arrows 3-0 near Pretoria.
Cape Town won the two-legged semi-final 4-0 on aggregate after a goalless first leg while Sundowns triumphed 4-1 overall after drawing the first encounter 1-1 in Durban.
Although Sundowns have been the dominant force in South Africa for more than half a decade, the last of three MTN 8 successes came 14 years ago.
Cape Town appeared in successive finals against SuperSport United from 2018, and both were decided by penalty shootouts with City losing the first and winning the second.
Surprise Ralani, a 33-year-old midfielder who spent much of his career with Swedish clubs, was the two-goal star of an unexpectedly easy victory for Cape Town.
The teams had played two goalless draws this season and as half-time approached at an empty stadium in Soweto because of the coronavirus pandemic, neither goalkeeper had been seriously tested.
Then, a superb cross from Terrence Mashego fell between two Swallows defenders and Ralani slammed the ball past Namibia goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
A brilliant chip from Fagrie Lakay on 58 minutes doubled the lead and a Ralani tap-in and a header from Mozambican substitute Edmilson Dove off a corner completed the rout.
In Pretoria, the 2021 South African Premiership Footballer of the Year and leading scorer Peter Shalulile from Namibia needed just four minutes to put Sundowns ahead against Arrows.
Sundowns struck again just before the half-hour when Zimbabwean Divine Lunga scored against his former club by nodding a free-kick wide of goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana.
But the highlight of the second leg was reserved for the fourth minute of stoppage time when substitute Neo Maema curled a shot into the net with his weaker right foot.
The MTN 8 involves the clubs occupying the first eight places in the previous Premiership and offers only one prize with the winners pocketing eight million rand ($525 000/455 000 euros).
Picture: Getty Images