Wits end Maritzburg's streak
Calvin Kadi (Backpagepix)
Pietermaritzburg - Calvin Kadi scored the only goal as Wits ended Maritzburg United’s unbeaten start to the Premiership season with a narrow 1-0 victory at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.
The only goal came after 62 minutes when the striker capitalised on a mix-up in the home defence to finish from a tight angle as the visitors claimed a first ever win in Pietermaritzburg in their sixth attempt.
The three points lifted them from 12th to sixth on the table, while United dropped to fourth after their first loss of the campaign.
The Students, whose five previous visits to the city ended in four draws and a loss, made a strong start to the match winning four corners in the opening six minutes, but it was from an error that they created their first chance.
Defender Mohammed Awal lost his footing as he backtracked to clear, allowing Kadi to latch on to the ball on the edge of the box, but the shot was punched wide by the alert Shuaib Walters.
The hosts slowly began to pass the ball around with confidence, although they struggled to create any openings.
In the meantime, Erwin Isaacs lifted a 20-yard free-kick over the crossbar before the half-hour mark.
Some good interplay between forwards Cuthbert Malajila and Delron Buckley on the half-time whistle saw the latter cut open the visiting defence with a fine pass to Orlando Smeekes, who wastefully blasted over when he should have at least tested rookie Wits goalkeeper Steven Hoffman.
It was 0-0 at the interval and after the restart some careless defending from the hosts gifted possession to Papy Faty 25-yards out, but his shot sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour mark when Ebrahim Seedat’s slightly angled pass somehow beat an indecisive Walters, who missed the ball along with a defender on the left side of the box, allowing Kadi to finish from a tight angle.
The Wits striker almost doubled the advantage moments later when he got between two defenders and headed Bryce Moon’s low cross centimetres wide.
With six minutes remaining, veteran winger Buckley had a free-kick from 25-yards out that he sent over, while Malajila also missed the target with a header from a floated Buckley corner.
The Team of Choice continued to push forward, but battled to find any clear-cut openings and in the closing stages it was Wits that almost doubled the advantage when substitute Ryan Chapman controlled a long ball nicely, only to skew wide.