Wits held by nine-man United
Johannesburg - Bidvest Wits had a chance to become the first team to defeat SuperSport United in the Absa Premiership this season, but they were held to a 1-1 draw by the hosts at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Matsatsantsa had two men sent off in the second half, while Franklin Cale and Calvin Kadi both got their names on the score sheet. The hero of the day was United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who produced a superb performance that ultimately stopped the Clever Boys taking home all three points.
Wits started the game brightly, but there were dealt an early injury blow when former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena pulled a hamstring and was replaced after just 10 minutes by James Mayinga.
SuperSport created the first clear scoring chance on 16 minutes whem Moffat Mdluli chipped a perfectly-weighted ball over the defence to find Thabiso Nkoana, but the young striker completely fluffed the opportunity with a weak and hesitant shot.
Nkoana had a better effort on goal in the 33rd minute with a low shot to the near post that was only half stopped by Wits’ Steven Hoffman – luckily for the goalkeeper the ball squirmed away wide of the goal.
A controversial incident arrived in the 40th minute when Nkoana provided a cross from the right by-line that was headed home by Atusaye Nyondo, but the linesman had flagged that the ball had crossed the line. TV replays suggested the goal should have stood.
Wits had a great chance to break the deadlock in injury time at the end of the first half when Calvin Kadi found himself one-on-one with Ronwen Williams, but the goalkeeper did brilliantly to push the Clever Boys attacker wide and then pull off a desperate diving save.
The second half started on a dour note for SuperSport, who had defender Mor Diouf sent off after picking up a second yellow card. The Senegalese centre-back challenged Calvin Kadi with a high foot and seemed to pick up an injury in the process, yet that did not stop referee Jerome Damon from brandishing a red card.
However, on 55 minutes the 10-man team took the lead through makeshift left-back Franklin Cale, who scored direct from a free kick that resulted from a foul by Pay Faty on Kermit Erasums 25 yards from goal.
Yet Matsatsantsa’s lead last just 17 minutes, as Wits drew level through Kadi. Matthew Pattison floated in a corner kick that was knocked down in the middle of the penalty area before Kadi swept it home from close range to make it 1-1.
With just over ten minutes to go, United had another man sent off as Cale handed a cross in the 18-yard area, picking up his second caution and handing the Clever Boys a penalty. Kadi took the spot kick, but Williams produced an excellent save with his legs to keep the teams level.
Soon after Pattison produced a sublime goal-bound volley that would have taken the net with it were it not for another exceptional save from Williams, who spectacularly palmed it away in mid-air.
The nine-man SuperSport had a chance to reclaim the lead in the 87th minute when substitute Mark Haskins sprung the offside trap, but he took so long over getting away a shot that he allowed S’boniso Gumede to get back and make a last-gasp challenge.
In injury-time Ryan Chapman had a similar chance for Wits, but again the excellent Williams did enough to deny the Clever Boys.