Santos’ title charge on hold
Darren Keet (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - High-flying Santos’ assault on the league summit was temporarily placed on hold when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Bidvest Wits at the Coetzenburg Stadium on Wednesday night.
While there were some moments of excitement, especially in the first half, neither side really got going in attack and in the end a draw was a fair result as the two sides effectively cancelled each other out with tight marking and discipline in defence.
The home side looked full of running and ideas early on and they had two chances inside the first four minutes which saw Ryan Chapman’s shot smashing into a defender, while winger Tony Tsabedze came close with a shot from outside the box.
Wits however soon showed that they were up for the game, with Calvin Kadi testing Tshepo Motsoeneng from inside the box with a stinging shot in the sixth minute, while Santos defender Bongi Macala came within inches of heading the ball into his own goal following a dangerous cross into the box in the 11th minute.
Wits continued to threaten as the half progressed and Kadi came close in the 23rd minute when he headed over the bar, before nearly getting in on the end of Rene Richards’ through ball a minute later, only to be denied by quick movement off the line from Santos keeper Motsoeneng
The game soon swung back to the other side of the field as Chapman fired in to the stands with a back post volley in the 28th minute and then Eleazar Rodgers headed marginally off target – both efforts coming as the result of good crosses from Tsabedze.
In the 31st minute the Students were very close to netting the opener when Timothy Batabaire got contact on a Marawaan Bantam free kick, but somehow Motsoeneng kept the ball out of his net.
Chapman was having a lively game for the Peoples’ Team, trying to make things happen up front. Three minutes before the break he beat his man, cutting inside, but his shot towards the near post was covered by Wits keeper Darren Keet.
The abundance of chances in the first 45 minutes, albeit half chances, dried up after the restart as both sides struggled for inspiration in attack.
The first notable goal-mouth action in the second half came in the 68th minute and saw Keet producing a brilliant reflex save to keep out Mogogi Gabonamong, who had powered a header goal-wards following Graham King’s corner.
There were a couple of goal-mouth scrambles and anxious moments in the Santos box late on, but the Peoples’ Team held on without too many problems to earn the solitary point.
Santos 0 (0)
Bidvest Wits 0 (0)
Santos: Motsoeneng - Macala, Gabonamong, W Arendse, Skippers - Isaacs (Spelman 76'), Van Beulen (Otieno 60'), Mafoko, Tsabedze (King 46') - Chapman, Rodgers
Wits: Keet - Gariseb, Miller, Batabaire, Phungwayo - Myeni, Bantam (Haskins 63'), Sibande, Vilakazi (Da Silva 74'), Richards - Kadi