Wits, Arrows share spoils

2011-12-03 18:25

Johannesburg - With one eye seemingly on next week's Telkom Knockout final against Orlando Pirates, Wits effectively took their eye off the ball in their Premiership game against Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday, drawing 2-2 after holding a 2-0 half-time lead.

Playing without a fair complement of players, who had compiled a succession of bookings and were placed in cotton wool in order to avoid suspension before the all-important cup encounter against the Buccaneers, Wits jumped into an early 2-0 lead before the first half-hour of play.

But with a degree of complacency creeping into the Students' play, and sloppy defending providing Arrows with the opportunity to come back into contention, the Durban-based club missed two golden opportunities in the final five minutes to walk away with all three points.

A sprightly Wits outfit went ahead after only two minutes of play when Tebogo Pule, better known as a defender, crossed the ball from the right flank and Sifiso Vilakazi took advantage of the opportunity to guide the ball into the net.

Vilakazi who increased Wits' lead in the 29th minute with his second goal from the penalty spot after Joseph Musonda had conceded the spot kick by tackling the eventual scorer.

Wits then appeared to take their foot off the pedal and a dazzling dribbling sortie by Thamsanqwa Gabuza ended with the Arrows attacker gliding the ball into the corner of the net past a bewildered and bemused Wits defence.

Arrows were on level terms in the 62nd minute when bulldozing Zambian international striker Collins Mbazuma scored his first goal in three months after brushing aside several Wits defenders with a deft change of direction.

As if the sands of time were running out for Wits, a rejuvenated Arrows dominated the closing stages, but first Gabuza and then Philane Shange, who had initiated Mbazuma's goal, both missed gilt-edged opportunities.

The point gained enabled Wits to remain in the top half of the log, while Arrows will be comforted by an important away point that eases them away from the relegation zone.

"A really promising start to the match turned into something of a bitter pill to swallow, and we could not have complained had we lost the game," admitted Wits coach Roger de Sa.

De Sa, however, said the match had proved beneficial for Wits as an indicator as to what line-up to field in the cup final against Bucs at Moses Mabhida Stadium next week.

"We gave several players the opportunity to force their way into the reckoning for a cup final place," he said.

"But they failed to grab the chance to replace the players who had been rested."