Eleazar Rodgers celebrates scoring the second goal for Wits against Pamplemousses on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – It should have been more considering the chances created and missed, with the exception of the two first-half goals from Kobamelo Kodisang and Eleazar Rodgers.

Pamplemousses were there for the taking, but hosts Bidvest Wits, still struggling to convert in the domestic league, flattered their visitors 2-0 in this Caf Champions League preliminary round first-leg tie on Saturday.

But it is a healthy lead at least and one that can easily be considered comfortable, especially if the Clever Boys manage an away goal 10 days from now in the second leg in Mauritius.

Gavin Hunt, the Wits coach, made wholesale changes for this encounter – resting a lot of his regulars to give fringe players a chance to play against a side that would have obviously been a closed book for the South Africans.

And they offered no threat really as Wits piled on the pressure from the first kick of the ball and were unlucky not to have ran riot by halftime.

In goal, Kyle Peters was reduced to a spectator while deputising for first-choice Darren Keet, who watched from the stands with his wife.

Veteran Moeneeb Josephs was the goalkeeper on the bench.

Keagan Ritchie, who was eventually shown a straight red card in the 87th minute for violent conduct, took the place of left back Sifiso Hlanti – who was probably going to be rested anyway for this match before taking a cut to the head in the Nedbank Cup defeat to Cape Town City on Wednesday night.

Most impressive was Anthony Gordinho in central midfield alongside stand-in captain Granwald Scott.

He dictated terms, changing the direction of play at will, while getting stuck in during a rare appearance for the club.

Wits should have taken the lead within five minutes of the game when Kodisang, who was returning from injury, delivered a quality cross to winger Vincent Pule, whose header went wide of the goal posts.

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The Clever Boys then had a couple of more efforts go wide and off target before Kodisang eventually broke the deadlock with a header of his own, after Ritchie sent in a cross just as good as they one he had supplied Pule with.

Wits were up and running, but there was no urgency to level matters from Pamplemousses, who are appearing in the Champions League for only the second time in the club’s history.

Ditto Wits, but they have a better squad and are expected to glide through to the next round of the competition – the playoffs for the group stages.

The second goal was a beauty, something Wits haven’t done much of this season.

Pule picked the ball up from his own half and quickly spotted Rodgers, who had placed himself in a favourable position to beat the offside trap.

The striker ran clean through on goal and squeezed the ball perfectly into the net to make it 2-0 and deflate the visitors even more.      

Defender Remy, who was involved in the incident that led to Ritchie’s sending off, was red-carded moments later in added time for a reckless tackle on Pule.

 

IOL Sport