SuperSport United (0) 2
Daniels 64 Mnyamane 69
BidVest Wits 0
An unbeaten run that was fast beginning to establish the Clever Boys as firm favourites for the championship was smashed into smithereens at the Mbombela Stadium Tuesday night as Matsatsantsa a Pitori staked a serious case to be included among the title contenders.
Of course with Stuart Baxter at the helm and the quality of players at their disposal, SuperSport were always going to challenge. But many viewed them more as darkhorses rather than favourites.
That standpoint will definitely change after this impressive defeat of Wits which takes them to second spot, equal on 20 points with their victims but above via a better goal difference.
It took two good goals within a five-minute period just after the hour-mark for SuperSport to render what was hitherto a closely-fought affair into a no contest.
Dareen Keet was having a fantastic match which saw him pull off brilliant saves, especially in the first half and looking somewhat invincible.
But then Wits’ failure to clear a Thabo Mnyamane corner saw Kingston Nkhatha’s attempt create a goal-mouth melee from which Clayton Daniels slotted home.
Still rattled by going down despite their having dominated the first half, Wits then conceded a second from a set piece. And it was SuperSport’s man-of-the-moment Mnyamane who delivered the goods, a fantastically curled and hard-hit free kick that went in at the far post to leave the flailing Keet clasping on the Lowveld evening air.
Keet was let down by his wall, which was not only poorly structured but came apart the moment Mnyamane approached the ball for what would be his third goal in as many matches.
SuperSport’s success, coming shortly after Mnyamane had booked them a spot in the Telkom Knockout final with a goal at the same venue against Orlando Pirates, was the result of a bolder second half approach that saw them take the game to Wits and attack them relentlessly.
It was a different tactic from the first half in which they had generally fought a rearguard action as Wits dominated proceedings and put them on the backfoot.
As early as the 10th minute, Elias Pelembe delivered a brilliant pass to find Daine Klate but the skipper’s finish is a tad poor as he directs the ball wide of Reyaad Pieterse’s goals.
Wits then tested Pieterse with a beautifully worked free kick that came about after Morgan Gould had earned himself a yellow card for pulling back Gabadinho Mhango. A tap into to the direction of Klate saw the skipper send a high ball straight into the far end of the box where Eleazar Rodgers connected with a seemingly innocuous header. But the ball dipped and looked to be going in only for Keet to acrobatically tip it over for a corner.
SuperSport then found their footing and at the half hour mark created a good build up that nearly led to them scoring the opener. A counter-attack on the left side ended with Aubrey Modiba sending in a superb delivery that saw the ball land flush on Mnyamane’s path but he connected poorly and his shot hardly troubled Keet.
But the Wits number one was seriously troubled five minutes before the break when a Dove Wome snapshot from inside the box called on him to show his agility and Keet came out tops with a great save to force a corner.
It was goalless at the break and then things turned around for SupeSport and they made their chances count. Wits came close late but Boxall cleared the ball off the line and sent it into Pieterse’s hands as SuperSport held on to a fantastic win that saw the last of the 2016/17 season’s unbeaten runs come to an end.