JOHANNESBURG, August 15 – Bidvest Wits’ perfect start to the season continued with a 1-0 league win over Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night.
The hard-fought victory, courtesy of an 80th minute Gladwin Shitolo own-goal, makes it three out of three in the league for the Clever Boys, who are looking to erase the memories of the nightmare season they had last time out as defending champions.
In a tightly-contested first half there were good chances for both sides, although it was Pirates who came closest on a couple of occasions.
An early opportunity fell the way of Justin Shonga in the fourth minute, but from eight yards out he was unable to react quickly enough to get in a meaningful shot.
Wits then had a decent chance on the counter-attack – after a wonderful bit of individual skill, Mxolisi Macuphu flashed in an angled volley which was brilliantly helped over the bar by Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Bucs were to have another couple of cracks at goal as Vincent Pule hit the side-netting before Xola Mlambo’s long range effort was tipped over the crossbar by Darren Keet.
Shonga should really have put the Buccaneers in front four minutes before the interval after Sifiso Hlanti gave the ball away cheaply, but the Zambian lacked composure as he struck his shot straight at Keet – with the goal at his mercy.
Wits had a chance just after the break through Terrence Dzvukamanja, but the Zimbabwean snatched at a close range effort.
Pirates, meanwhile continued to enjoy more of the ball and they were an inch away from taking the lead in the 53rd minute after Pule had stormed forward from midfield and thumped a dipping effort into the upright.
The game remained on a knife-edge, with a couple of half-chances for Bucs as Shonga fired wide, before Mlambo sent another rocket just over goal.
The breakthrough finally came 10 minutes from time, and it fell the way of the Students as substitute Haashim Domingo skipped past Musa Nyatama and then saw his low cross deflected off Shitolo and into the net.
There wasn’t much of a fight-back from Bucs – apart from a good chance hit over the bar by Paseka Mako in the 90th minute, Wits held on comfortably for the win, leaving the Sea Robbers on four points from their three league outings. (ANA)