JOHANNESBURG – For now, Wits can confidently count themselves in the Premiership championship race.
The Clever Boys kept the gap between themselves and pacesetters Orlando Pirates to just six points with a 3-1 victory over relegation threatened Black Leopards on Wednesday night.
Wits have played a game less than Pirates, while they’ll be banking on the PSL Disciplinary Committee to do them a big favour by deducting points from Mamelodi Sundowns, who fielded an ineligible Wayne Arendse during their first-round clash last year.
Knowing that the permutation is simple – they should do themselves justice by winning all their matches – Wits started this encounter like a team possessed.
In the opening stages, they made their intentions known by taking the match to the visitors with fluidity, marshalled by their engine-room duo Cole Alexander and Thabang Monare.
The Clever Boys were most lethal down the left flank, as Deon Hotto was giving Marks Munyai sleepless nights.
But they struggled to find target man Simon Murray as Jean Munganga was like a hawk over him, clearing all the danger that came his way.
When Leopards’ Karabo Tshepi managed to create space for himself, he tried to make things happen for his team.
As a result, Tshepi’s effort should have been rewarded when Ivan Mahangwahaya danced his way into the Clever Boys’ box to win his team a penalty, after being fouled by Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi.
The league’s top goal scorer, Mwape Musonda, stepped up to take the responsibility and astonishingly skied his efforts to the stands.
And that miss came back to haunt Lidoda Duvha.
Following a defence-splitting pass, Murray created acres of space to go one-on-one with goalkeeper King Ndlovu, who brought him down, and referee Cedric Muvhali pointed to the spot.
Murray stepped up and sent Ndlovu wrong way.
Gavin Hunt’s troops refused to put the foot off the pedal after that, as they soon got their second from Hotto, who rose the highest in the box to head home following a delightful delivery from Thulani Hlatshwayo.
But Muvhali was having a blissful time with his whistle, ensuring that he awarded Leopards their second penalty of the first half after Hotto brought down Tshepi in the box.
Musonda made no mistake this time, taking his tally to 14 goals so far this season.
Following the thrilling action from the first half, the second also had its moments. But Elias Pelembe would ensure that his team secured all the spoils in stunning fashion.
The Mozambican skipper skinned his marker at the edge of the box, before sending a dipping curler into Ndlovu’s bottom corner.@Mihlalibaleka