POLOKWANE – Log-leaders Baroka FC surrendered their 14-match unbeaten run as they went down 1-0 to Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.
Vincent Pule’s tap-in in the 43rd minute – after some fine work on the right side of the Wits midfield – earned the Clever Boys three valuable league points to record only their second league win of the season.
From a Baroka perspective, their experienced left back Punch Masenamela could come in for some criticism from his coach after allowing the ball to be crossed in from the right wing for Pule to finish.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt would have been a relieved man in having two of his experienced defenders, Nazeer Allie (back from suspension) and Thulani Hlatshwayo, back in the starting line-up, and their presence was evident as the rearguard of the visitors in front of goalkeeper Kyle Peters looked far more settled than in recent games.
Former Al Ahly striker Amr Gamal again impressed upfront for Wits, with his aerial strength and tricky passing and shooting always ensuring that he was a thorn in the flesh for the Baroka defenders.
Experienced midfielder Daine Klate also gave the Baroka back-four much to think about, and like Gamal, he too had a few goal-scoring opportunities, particularly in the first half, but it was not to be on the day.
The fortnight break in league action seemed to be just the tonic that Wits needed after a woeful start in defence of their league crown, with their transitional play looking smoother than in recent games.
Baroka, who remain on 16 points from nine games, will turn their attention to the Telkom Knockout as they prepare to host Cape Town City next Sunday.
Wits, on eight points from as many league games, will be at home to Free State Stars in their knockout fixture on Saturday.
African News Agency (ANA)