In The News South Africa Sport

Wits go five points clear as Tinkler loses first game in charge of Maritzburg

JOHANNESBURG, February 2 – Lehlohonolo Majoro came off the bench at the Bidvest Stadium on Friday night to net a 79th minute winner as Bidvest Wits edged out rock-bottom Maritzburg United 1-0 in a league encounter.

The hosts were full value for their win, although had Maritzburg been a bit more clinical with the few opportunities they did carve out, newly-arrived head coach Eric Tinkler may well have seen his team taking something from the game.

The Students had the early chances: Gabadinho Mhango was not far off with an attempted chip in the seventh minute, before Deon Hotto’s free kick out wide was acrobatically tipped onto the post by Maritzburg keeper Richard Ofori.

The KZN side’s best moment of the opening stanza came on 20 minutes, when Siphesihle Ndlovu slipped in Justice Figuareido, whose first-time shot skidded across the wet turf and drew a sharp save from Darren Keet in goal for Wits.

For the most part though the visitors found themselves on the back foot as the log leaders attacked relentlessly, and Hotto was close to finding the net when he dragged a 26th minute shot just wide.

Keet did, however, have to be at his best to stop Maritzburg scoring from a rare foray forward when he reacted very smartly in order to prevent Simon Murray’s header from a Figuareido corner going in for an own goal.

At the other end, Ofori also made a very good reflex save to stop Brian Onyango’s attempted clearance from flying into his own net just before the break.

After a tight start to the second half it was Ofori who was called into action first, the Ghana international doing superbly to rush off his line in the 54th minute and take the ball off the feet of Terrance Dzvukamanja.

With Fortune Makaringe suddenly bursting to life for the Team of Choice midway through the second stanza, the visiting side began to pose more of a threat to the Wits defence.

And when Makaringe did superbly to set up Mxolisi Kunene with 14 minutes to play, Marirtzburg should really have taken the lead, but the latter lost his cool and completely missed the target.

It was to prove very costly as the Clever Boys went in front just a few minutes later after Pelembe played in Majoro, who beat Ofori to the ball before finishing expertly from the tightest of angles.

A wonderful piece of skill from Majoro in the 87th minute resulted in a hand-ball in the box from Maritzburg defender Rushine De Reuck, and a penalty was awarded.

But the scoreline remain unchanged as Ofori made an excellent save to deny Majoro his brace and 1-0 was how it ended as Gavin Hunt’s team moved five points clear of second-placed Orlando Pirates. (ANA)

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