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Johannesburg - A Ryan Chapman thunderbolt ensured that Wits prevailed 2-1 in a comeback victory over Maritzburg United in their Absa Premiership match at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.
The first real chance of the match fell to the hosts in the ninth minute when captain Sibusiso Vikalazi found space just outside the box, but his effort went wide for a goalkick.
Two minutes later Chapman did well to work his way past the Maritzburg defence but his final touch was disappointing as he rifled the ball off target.
Maritzburg responded swiftly, launching an attack that resulted in a corner. Dillon Sheppard took the resultant set-piece and found Mario Booysen who headed the ball home for the opener in the 15th minute.
United were at it again in the 22nd minute, with Michael Morton finding himself unmarked, only to volley the ball wide of Jackson Mabokgwane’s goal.
Six minutes later, Asive Langwe broke away and sent in a low cross inside the box which met the boot of Chapman, who was unlucky to be denied by goalkeeper Shuaib Walters from close range.
After fluffing a number of chances, frustration started to creep in for the hosts as Chapman was booked for an unnecessary lunge on to defender Rheece Evans.
The Clever Boys levelled matters in the 38th minute when the pint sized Langwe out jumped the United defence to nod home a beautiful cross from Mzikayise Mashaba.
Wits had a penalty shout turned down by referee Victor Hlongwane just before half-time. Vilakazi looked like he was hacked from behind by Awal but it was a clean tackle by the Ghanaian.
Wits came back from the break looking a rejuvenated side and could have taken the lead in the 49th minute, with Chapman unleashing a pile driver, but Walters was equal to the task.
A minute later Maritzburg had the woodwork to thank as Papy Faty’s effort crashed against the crossbar with Walters a beaten man, much to the disappointment of the Students' followers who were lively throughout the game, led by a brass band.
On the hour mark, Sheppard played an intelligent drop ball which found Cuthbert Malajila. The Zimbabwean striker shielded two defenders away and chipped the ball over the advancing Mabokgwane but it sailed over the bar.
Five minutes later, Matthew Pattison found himself in acres of space and let go a grasscutter, but Walters was in no compromising mood as he tipped the ball out and Wits failed to capitalise from the resultant corner.
With 21 minutes remaining, Sheppard unleashed a screamer which was collected by goalkeeper Mabokgwane to keep the scores level.
Ten minutes later, Pattison should have done better but he hurried his shot and it flew wide, much to the disappointment of the Wits’ bench.
Chapman set the stadium alight with a stunner as he picked his spot and lined up a contender for goal of the season to hand the Students a well-deserved win at home. - Sapa