A penalty shootout was needed to send the Clever Boys through in the Nedbank Cup with second-string keeper Ricardo Goss the hero.
BIDVEST Wits remain on track for a league-cup double after progressing through to the quarter finals of the Nedbank Cup on Monday, February 18, as they overcame a resilient Black Leopards squad 3-2 on penalties.
The Braamfontein boys needed penalties to send them through to the last 8 of the Nedbank Cup against Black Leopards with second-string keeper Ricardo Goss the hero from the spot.
The thrilling encounter took place after prior abandonment of the match due to heavy rains on Wednesday, February 13, at the Thohoyandou Stadium with Black Leopards coach Dylan Kerr fielding the same eleven that had taken a one-goal lead in that match.
This time around the sides were more evenly matched, Leopards equalising in the 80th minute after Wits had taken the lead thanks to Gift Motupa 10 minutes before the half-time break.
The tie remained square after the additional 30 minutes of extra time and the side were called to the penalty spot to find a victor.
Ricardo Goss, substituting for goalkeeper Darren Keet, gave Wits a 3-1 lead in the shootout with two saves before the Clever Boys squandered the chance to end the tie with two of their own misses.
Themba Ndlovu brought Leopards back in the shootout with the fourth spot kick but it was not enough as the Limpopo side threw away the opportunity to send the shootout into sudden death.
Lesedi Kapiga rocketed the ball into orbit in the final spotkick, securing victory in a testing encounter for Gavin Hunt’s side.
Goss, the hero for Hunt’s team, said he was appreciative of playing understudy to experienced goalkeepers like Keet and Brighton Mhlongo, noting their motivation in the vital moments of the match.
“It was really helpful at the end. Even when we went to penalties they just said, ‘stay calm and just do your thing because you know you can save’. So it’s very helpful,” the twenty-four-year-old said.
Wits will join fellow top-flight sides Bloemfontein Celtic, Cape Town City, Chippa United, Golden Arrows and Kaizer Chiefs in the quarterfinal draw on Thursday, February 21.
In the Premier Soccer League, the Clever Boys will take on Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, February 23 at the Bidvest Stadium, knowing that anything but a loss will see them remain on top of the log.
Wits currently have a two-point lead over their Pretoria rivals, having played two games more than the Brazilians. This game will be crucial in deciding where the title goes at the end of the season.
First-year BSc student Mqondisi Sondezi believes the team has what it takes to down Masandawana and go all the way in the league.
“Sundowns will be surprised. It won’t be a game of many goals but I trust Wits when it comes to big games. Sundowns are exhausted from the CAF Champions League and like to underestimate local teams. So I think we will punish them,” said the Clever Boys supporter.
FEATURED IMAGE: Substitute keeper Ricardo Goss was the hero in the penalty shootout needed to send the Clever Boys through in the Nedbank Cup Photo: Tshego Mokgabudi
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