Wits strike late to hold Chiefs to a draw

Cole Alexander (r) celebrates goal with teammate Terrence Dzvukamanja of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits at the Orlando Stadium. (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

Kaizer Chiefs did what was necessary and would have thought they were coming out with the full points against Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening, but a late equaliser put a spanner in the works for Amakhosi. 

Amakhosi were playing for the first time in over four months following a lengthy Covid-19 enforced break.

Ernst Middendorp’s side may not have been as sharp as he would have wanted but they managed to hold their own and could have easily got away with the three points under normal circumstances.

Amakhosi had lost their last league game 1-0 against AmaZulu at FNB Stadium back in March and will be happy to have got off to a winning start at the resumption of play.

Both sides started with academy graduates in Nkosingiphile Ngcobo who partnered Willard Katsande in central midfield for Amakhosi and Rowan Human, and Keenan Phillips turning out for the Students.

While Chiefs looked to be wanting to get off the blocks quickly, Wits were more patient in their build up but hardly made any inroads on the Amakhosi half of the field early on.

Chiefs could have grabbed an early goal when Nkosingiphile Ngcobo found Erick Mathoho from a corner kick five minutes into the game, but the former couldn’t direct his header towards goal.

There were other chances for Amakhosi in the first half but nothing clear cut. Lebogang Manyama, Khama Billiat, Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic kept the Wits defense busy as they tried to resuscitate the combination they had before the break.

It finally came together for Amakhosi when in the 37th minute Nurkovic headed into the far corner from a corner swung in by Manyama to give the home side the lead.

Three minutes later, Nurkovic could have scored his second of the day but he sent his shot wide when he had an open net to send it to as Billiat had sent him through on goal by beating the Wits defenders and keeper Ricardo Goss with his brilliant ball.

Wits came close to an equaliser a minute to the break when Daniel Akpeyi mishandled the ball from a free kick but he was lucky that it was eventually cleared away after some scramble inside his box.

Two minutes after the break, the home side could have doubled their lead when a ball crossed from the right found Billiat inside the Wits box but the striker rushed his shot and ballooned it way over.

Wits also had their chances for a comeback and it finally happened right at the end when Cole Alexander found the equaliser.

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