2 minute read
19 Apr 2014
6:06 pm

Wits’ title hopes all but over

Wits had their hopes of a top two finish to the Premiership season dented on Saturday after they were held to a goalless draw by 10-man SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

Kwanda Mngoyama of Wits and Dino Ndlovu of SuperSport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits at Lucas Moripe Stadium on April 19, 2014 in Atteridgeville, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Third in the league standings behind Kaizer Chiefs and table-topping Mamelodi Sundowns, Wits were still in with a fighting chance for the runner-up position, but looked destined to finish no better than third, following Saturday’s lively, but ultimately disappointing, result in Atteridgeville.

With a single point earned, the Clever Boys moved to 51 points and still trail the Amakhosi by four points, making Wednesday’s meeting between the pair a vital one for coach Gavin Hunt and his men, should they stand any chance of staking their claim for a second-place finish.

The pair traded blows after the opening quarter-of-an-hour, with the best chance falling to Dino Ndlovu, who got a powerful header away on goal, but was denied by Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.

The visitors looked up for it, and soon tested SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams through Jabulani Shongwe’s long-range effort, which Williams did well to parry over the crossbar and out of danger.

United responded with a chance of their own and would have felt they should have got more as Bradley Grobler saw his shot expertly saved by Josephs, who found himself one-on-one with the striker but held his nerve to pull off a good stop low down to thwart SuperSport’s best chance of the half.

Level at the break, Wits came out guns blazing in the second period and went close within the opening couple of minutes, but failed to round-off a brilliant team move, as Calvin Kadi blasted over the crossbar, before Sibusiso Vilakazi shot straight at Williams in goal shortly after.

The Clever Boys kept up the pressure as the half played out and again threatened the SuperSport goal before the hour mark when Sthembiso Ngcobo struck the upright from inside the area, before Shongwe missed the rebound, which he skied over the bar instead of hitting the mark from a promising position.

At the other end, Sibusiso Zuma picked up a loose ball and had a shot at goal with his first touch of the ball after coming on as a replacement seconds before, but Josephs was up to the task and made a simple save to keep the teams goalless.

It became a show between the goalkeepers as Williams followed up Josephs’ save with three in succession, including two fine stops from Papy Faty and then from Kwanda Mngonyama, who both tried their luck from way out.

Another duel followed, as Josephs scuppered Jabu Mahlangu from dead in front, before Williams pulled off yet another good save to deny Faty as the game edged nearer to a stalemate.

With four minutes left on the clock, Thabo September received his marching orders from referee Daniel Bennett, who showed the veteran his second yellow card of the game for a nasty challenge.

For SuperSport, a point was enough to lift them back into fourth position, but have now played two games more than Orlando Pirates, who trail by one and have a chance to take back their position on Monday.

– Sapa