Cape Town - Wits put one foot into the MTN8 final after a resounding 3-0 first leg semi-final win over Cape Town City in Johannesburg on Saturday night.
The first 45 minutes was action-packed and saw Gavin Hunt’s side in blistering form, the three goals scored enough to just about seal the game by half time. The second half was a cagey affair, the hosts happy to sit back and defend their lead.
The Students ran rampant in the first half, the pace and purpose of Gabadinho Mhango and Elias Pelembe tearing the visitors’ defence to shreds.
Mhango had four chances of his own in the opening 20 minutes, the best of which came after seven minutes when the Malawi striker headed over the bar from 10-yards out, right in front of goal.
But he made amends with a killer assist in the 22nd minute, a sublime 35-yard pass to the back-post providing a fairly easy volley in for Eleazar Rodgers to register his first Wits goal.
The only chance of the half for the shell-shocked Cape side came in the 33rd minute, when Matt Sim hit a firm drive from 25-yards out which saw Moeneeb Josephs diving full length to tip around the post.
But the Johannesburg team finished the first stanza with a bang with two further goals. Pelembe fired in to the bottom corner having done well to make space for himself in the box after Daine Klate had exposed the visitors’ defence to make it 2-0.
Mhango then took advantage of some more poor defending just before half time to run in on goal and stab the ball past keeper Shu-aib Walters and into the net.
While Cape Town City started the second half brightly – substitute Judas Moseamedi had two good chances in quick succession, the Students were soon able to take the sting out of the game as they consolidated their position by tightening up at the back and in midfield.
Unlike what had had been an absorbing and fast-paced opening half, the second half became more and more cagey, Wits not looking to commit too much in attack, while making sure there were no openings for City.
The only negative for the hosts was the sending off of Josephs, who was red-carded 12 minutes from after seemingly having punched an opponent in the face.
Nevertheless, they’ll be strong favourites to finish the job down in the Mother City next week in the second leg.