Absa Premiership

Wits triumph from tense MTN8 clash with Arrows

2017-08-11 23:35
James Keene (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bidvest Wits needed sudden-death penalties to overcome Golden Arrows in their MTN8 quarter-final clash at Bidvest Stadium.

Wits defeated Golden Arrows 4-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

James Keene failed to get a vital touch on the ball in the first three minutes as he raced through.

Wits had the Arrows defense scrambling to clear off their goal line early on, as Arrows took the lead against the run of play.

Following a swift counterattack, Lerato Lamola kicked off proceedings as he perfectly slotted the ball past a despairing Moeneeb Josephs.

New Wits signing Slavko Damjanovic was sent off for a boot to the face of Siphelele Magubane, who was replaced by Nduduzo Sibiya as a result of the injury.

Still reeling from the dismissal, Wits found themselves further behind, after some superb passing from Arrows, to set up Kudakwashe Mahachi to slot home.

Wits grabbed a lifeline when Keene made no mistake from the penalty mark after Vincent Pule was fouled and were further buoyed when Danny Phiri picked up a second yellow for a needless foul at the end of the first period.

Wits were dominating possession early in the second half as they looked for an equaliser, and Pule came close to a leveler after being fed by Keene, but his effort was well blocked.

But the goal Wits were searching for ultimately arrived as a result of a mistake from the Arrows defense - leaving Keene to score his second of the night after been set up by Reeve Frosler.

Arrows were forced to clear off of their own goalline on 75 minutes as Wits piled on the pressure.

Appeals for a second Wits penalty were waved away on 83 minutes, ahead of the introduction of Steven Pienaar for Daylon Claasen with six minutes to play.

Wits were twice denied goal scoring opportunities by the referee as he was overly protective against Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede.

It was a tentative start to extra time, before Pienaar beat his man before firing just wide.

Arrows were then reduced to nine men on 107 minutes when Siyabonga Dube was sent off for head butting Gabadinho Mhango, for the last real piece of action ahead of the penalty shootout.

Wits were up first and Thulani Hlatshwayo saw his kick saved before Nduduzo Sibiya netted.

Gumede denied Frank Mhango but Lehlohonolo Nonyane missed his kick before Pienaar slotted his into the top corner.

Knox Mutizwa was next up and next to score, as did Elias Pelembe.

Nkanyiso Cele hit the bar as Keene buried his kick ahead of Mahachi to see the teams enter sudden death.

And after Frosler scored, Musa Bilankulu couldn't hit the target, ultimately handing the win to a resolute Wits side.

Read more on:    bidvest wits  |  golden arrows  |  mtn 8  |  psl  |  james keene  |  soccer


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