Johannesburg – Wits fought back from a goal down to secure a 2-1 win over 10-man Bloemfontein Celtic in Botshabelo on Sunday, booking their place in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals.
“Their goal woke us up,” Wits coach Gavin Hunt admitted after the game.
“On this type of pitch you've always got to have an extra touch, and it's difficult to play, but I thought we were comfortable.”
Celtic grabbed the lead midway through the first half, with Musa Nyatama picking up a loose ball in the area to fire past charging Wits keeper Moeneeb Josephs.
Their advantage was short-lived, however, with Sibusiso Vilakazi outsmarting the home side's defence to bury the equaliser two minutes later.
Celtic were placed on the back foot with six minutes left in the opening period when Alfred Ndengane was sent off, and the Clever Boys capitalised immediately.
Ndengane was shown a red card for a tackle on Vilakazi, and Jabulani Shongwe hit the back of the net direct from the free kick.
After an exciting first half, neither side took control until the dying stages of the second period.
Lerato Manzini hit the right post from close range for Celtic but was ruled offiside, and keeper Patrick Tignyemb denied the visitors a third goal with a neat save in injury time.
“It was a difficult game,” said Shongwe, the Man of the Match.
“They got a red card but it wasn't easy because they were coming at us, but we tried our best and worked hard.”
Celtic coach Ernst Middendorp was frustrated by the defeat.
“We messed it up a little bit ourselves,” Middendorp said.
“We were leading and then within a couple of minutes were at a disadvantage.
“I think we kept the structure in the second half with one man less and tried to take the game to extra time, but it was not to be.”– Sapa