Cape Town - Bidvest Wits moved into second place on
the Absa Premiership table after beating struggling Orlando Pirates 4-3
in a thrilling clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The match got off to the worst possible start for the Buccaneers when
they found themselves a goal down after just three minutes.
A free-kick was given away in the middle of the field just outside of
the box, and Deon Hotto stepped up and unleashed a thunderous strike
past Joris Delle in goal.
Pirates were forced to play catch-up and they came close to
equalising on 13 minutes courtesy of a powerful long-range effort, only
for Wits 'keeper Brandon Peterson to pull off an impressive save.
The visitors were dominating possession now and posing a constant threat to the Wits defence.
Wits were lucky to escape following a scramble in the box shortly
before the half-hour mark, and as the half wore on it looked as if they
were going to go into the break still one goal to the good.
But with just seconds remaining before the start of added time, Pirates found the goal they'd been looking for.
Thembinkosi Lorch, who had been a constant thorn in the Clever Boys'
side, played the ball to Tshegofatso Mabasa, who was waiting to chest the ball
down and volley it home in style.
Pirates would have been hoping to start the second half in the same way as they'd finished the first, but Wits had other ideas.
It was goal-scoring hero Hotto who tormented the Pirates defence once
again as he set off on a run from inside his own half and carried the
ball all the way up past several defenders before teeing up Mxolisi
Macuphu, who put Wits back in front with a superb left-footed finish.
Their lead lasted only six minutes, however, when Pirates equalised
once again after opting for a short corner. The ball came to Musa
Nyatama at the near post, and the midfielder finished beautifully with
his left foot to level the scores.
Twenty minutes from time, the see-saw battle took another turn as Wits went back in front with an absolute peach of a goal.
A poor clearance header from Happy Jele only got as far as Cole
Alexander, who smashed a brilliant volley into the back of the net.
The goals kept coming, and with eight minutes to go Wits extended
their lead further through Phathutshedzo Nange, who latched on to a
superb assist from Haashim Domingo to score. The duo had both been
introduced from the bench at the start of the second half.
As the clock wound down, Pirates pulled one back through one of their
own substitutes, Hellings Mhango, to give their fans hope they
might be able to pull off an unlikely draw, but Wits held on to secure a
4-3 victory as an electrifying match in Durban came to a close.
Meanwhile, in other PSL matches on Saturday, Stellenbosch FC and Black Leopards drew 2-2, spoils were shared in a goalless draw between Chippa United andBloemfontein Celtic, Polokwane City continued their superb start to the season with a 3-1 drubbing ofSuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns were made to fight for their 2-1 victory over lowlyMaritzburg United.