Vincent Pule came off the bench to grab a last-gasp winner as Bidvest Wits beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday to win the 2017 Telkom Knockout.
Pule came on in the 72nd minute and right at the death he flicked the ball past Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb to give Gavin Hunt his first ever TKO title, the only PSL trophy that was missing from Hunt’s personal cabinet.
On a typically warm summer evening in KwaMashu, Wits coach Gavin Hunt restored striker Gabadinho Mhango to his starting line-up immediately following his six-game suspension, while Daylon Claasen also returned after recovering from injury.
As for Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic, he brought back the likes of Roggert Nyundu and Wandisile Letlabika, who he had rested for last weekend’s league defeat at home to Orlando Pirates.
It was a dull first half, with Celtic content to sit behind the ball and Wits battling to break them down.
In the 18th minute, Egyptian striker Amr Gamal headed wide from Daine Klate’s corner, before a rare Celtic attack saw Nyundu fire over at the other end.
Wits were desperately close to going in front in the 26th minute, as Mhango did well to get to the byline and fire in a dangerous low cross.
Letlabika stuck out a foot, and the ball struck one of his own post’s, trickled across the goalline and struck the other post, before coming out to Claasen, who shanked his effort into Gamal, who also couldn’t force the ball home.
Celtic came out with far more intent in the second half, pushing the Clever Boys onto the back foot and it was their turn to hit the bar in the 63rd minute, Darren Keet pushing Victor Letsoala’s header onto the woodwork.
A minute or so later, Letsoala again found space inside the Wits penalty area, but this time he blazed well over.
Mhango again threatened his former side, with a jinking run inside from the left, but his shot was tame and easy for Tignyemb.
Gamal then went close for the Clever Boys, curling an effort that Tignyemb did well to tip wide.
With two minutes of normal time left, Letsoala wasted a glorious chance to win it for Celtic, firing wide from just inside the area when it looked easier to score.
And Phunya Sele Sele were made to pay in the final minute of the game as Gamal crossed and substitute Pule flicked a finish past Tignyemb.
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