Lehlohonolo Majoro came off the bench to net a 79th-minute winner as Wits edged out rock-bottom Maritzburg United 1-0 on Friday night in Johannesburg.
The hosts were full value for their win, although had Maritzburg been a bit more clinical with the few opportunities they had carved out, newly-arrived head coach Eric Tinkler may well have seen his team taking something from the game.
The Students had the early chances.
Gabadinho Mhango was not far off with an attempted chip in the seventh minute, before Deon Hotto’s free kick out wide was acrobatically tipped onto the post by Maritzburg keeper Richard Ofori.
The KZN side’s best moment of the opening stanza came on 20 minutes, when Siphesihle Ndlovu slipped in Justice Figuareido, whose first-time shot skidded across the wet turf and drew a sharp save from Darren Keet in goal for Wits.
For the most part, though, the visitors found themselves on the back foot as the log leaders attacked relentlessly, and Hotto was close to finding the net when he dragged a 26th-minute shot just wide.
Keet did, however, have to be at his best to stop Maritzburg scoring from a rare foray forward when he reacted smartly in order to prevent Simon Murray’s header from a Figuareido corner going in for an own goal.
At the other end, Ofori also made a very good reflex save to stop Brian Onyango’s attempted clearance from flying into his own net just before the break.
After a tight start to the second half, it was Ofori who was called into action first, the Ghana international doing superbly to rush off his line in the 54th minute and take the ball off the feet of Terrance Dzvukamanja.
With Fortune Makaringe suddenly bursting to life for the Team of Choice midway through the second stanza, the visiting side began to pose more of a threat to the Wits defence.
And when Makaringe did superbly to set up Mxolisi Kunene with 14 minutes to play, Marirtzburg should really have taken the lead, but the latter lost his cool and completely missed the target.
It was to prove costly as the Clever Boys went in front just a few minutes later after Pelembe played in Majoro, who beat Ofori to the ball before finishing expertly from the tightest of angles.
FT: 🔵⚪️ Bidvest Wits 1⃣-0️⃣ Maritzburg United🔹— Bidvest Wits (@BidvestWits) February 1, 2019
The Clever Boys extend their lead at the top to 5 points! Majoro’s goal proves to be the difference! #BidvestWits #AbsaPrem #Nakanjani pic.twitter.com/XaYIJPUTcA
A wonderful piece of skill from Majoro in the 87th minute resulted in a hand-ball in the box from Maritzburg defender Rushine de Reuck, and a penalty was awarded.
But the score-line remain unchanged as Ofori made an excellent save to deny Majoro his brace.
So, 1-0 was how it ended as Gavin Hunt’s team moved five points clear of second-placed Orlando Pirates.
African News Agency (ANA)