Absa Premiership

Wits claim top spot after seeing off Pirates

2017-02-15 22:01
Happy Jele (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Wits moved to the top of the table, above Cape Town City on goal difference, with a 2-1 win over Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium.

Wits began the game brightly and had the first chance when Phakamani Mahlambi's stinging shot was palmed away by Bucs keeper Jackson Mabokgwane, who followed that up with a brave save diving at the feet of James Keene.

Pirates played themselves back into the game and had chances, however, Luvoyo Memela was inches away from connecting with a header 10 yards out before Thembinkosi Lorch cut in from the left flank before seeing his 22nd-minute shot comfortably saved by Darren Keet.

Gabadinho Mhango put the Students in front when he took advantage of some indecisive defending to force his way in the box before firing a clinical shot into the top corner.

On another evening, Bucs may well have been awarded a spot-kick after Nazeer Allie's challenge on Oupa Manyisa in the box 10 minutes before half-time seemed to have failed to make contact with the ball.

Instead, the Pirates were to concede a second goal when Mhango rose superbly in the box to head home a corner two minutes into first-half added time.

Mhango may well have added a third 10 minutes after half-time when Keene headed the ball into his path, but he was tentative in front of goal and lost possession.

Instead it was the Buccaneers who reduced the deficit in the 61st minute when Happy Jele scrambled the ball in from close range after Keet had only managed to parry Dove Wome's header. 

It appeared as if Pirates could go on to grab a second goal as they pushed and probed for openings. But their task was made all the more difficult when Mabokgwane was handed a straight red 15 minutes from time after he had flown out his box to stop a goal-bound Mhango, having used his hands in the process.

With 10 men and with Jele in goal - all three of Pirates' substitutes had been used - Bucs continued to put the Clever Boys defence under pressure as the searched for an equaliser. 

But they couldn't find a way past the Wits defence, while the visitors nearly added a third goal in added time when Mhango pulled the trigger from close range, only for Jele made an excellent block.

Read more on:    orlando pirates  |  psl  |  soccer


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