Johannesburg - Bidvest Wits failed to close the gap on Absa
Premiership log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when they drew 0-0 against Free State
Stars at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday night.
In the wake of the stalemate, the second-placed Clever Boys
remain behind the Brazilians with 52 points from 25 matches, whilst Giovanni
Solinas' men have 33 points at position No 8.
Although the match had a quiet start, it took the visitors
10 minutes to attack when they nearly bagged a goal as Nhlanhla Vilakazi's
header was denied by Moeneeb Josephs in the 14th minute.
Daine Klate also came close in the 26th minute when he
received a good cross from the left, but his header was not well directed and
didn’t trouble goalkeeper and man of the match Johnny Mathole.
Ea Lla Koto continued with their good one-touch football and
just after the 30th minute Lucky Mohomi nearly caught Josephs napping on his
far post, but the ex-Bafana Bafana net minder was alert and punched the ball
away for a corner.
The experienced Klate showed his intentions in the 44th
minute when he unleashed a volley on the left, but Davis Nkausu was equal to
the task to block the effort.
It was 0-0 at the interval and the Bethlehem-based side
tried to open the hosts and substitute Katlego Mashego's long range shot sailed
over the crossbar.
Just after the 50th minute, Phumlani Ntshangase saw his
effort going wide of the right of Mathole's post following good pressure on
A minute later, the busy Mathole was alert to collect a
close range shot by Henrico Botes right in the penalty area and it was a blow
for Stars as Nhlanhla Vilakazi received his marching orders after the hour mark
for a second bookable offence on Klate.
Towards the 70th minute, defender S'fiso Hlanti was
fortunate to receive a pass from Ben Motshwari in the box, but his header
lacked power and went straight to the well-positioned Mathole, who collected easily.
Gavin Hunt's men were all over their visitors and they hit
the woodwork through Siyabonga Nhlapo in the 67th minute before Klate saw his
effort going inches wide of Mathole's left corner.
With five minutes remaining, the Clever Boys threw everything
they had to Stars but they failed to beat Mathole when Joaquim Lupeta was
unable to make contact with Hlanti's cross.
Against the run of play, Ayanda Nkosi made a great run,
beating defenders Buhle Mkhwanazi and Bongani Khumalo, but he rushed his shot
and missed the target.
In the end, the 10-man Stars held on to their point and it
was a bitter end for the Braamfontein-side as they shared the spoils.