SOCCER: Wits FC disappoints log leaders VUT

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DOWN TO EARTH: Log leaders VUT’s hammering machine was deflected by Wits FC Men’s side in a well-sustained 0-0 draw, only adding a point to both sides. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Wits FC Men’s side brought  log leaders Vaal University of Technology (VUT) down to earth with a 0-0 draw at Bidvest Wits Stadium on Tuesday.

The draw was VUT’s first disappointment this season after having won all six of their games so far in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Gauteng football league, making them the log leaders with 16 points.

With only eight points and in fourth position, Wits came prepared on Tuesday to send a message of intent. Wits FC is looking for a top four qualifying position for the USSA National Championships. Wits coach Karabo Mogudi told Wits Vuvuzela that his team came prepared to face VUT.

“We managed to contain VUT, considering that they play high level football. We did assess them. We watched their game last week at UJ and assessed their strengths and weakness. VUT actually came back to us now and said ‘Hey, you prepared well’,” said Mogudi.

In addition to team assessments, Wits has added two new centre backs in hopes of growing and strengthening the team as they prepare to take on more tougher opponents when the season resumes in August.

Though the match was without any goals, Mogudi said the Wits team was to be commended for holding their log leading opponents to a scoreless draw.

“It’s a positive that we did not concede against a team that really attacks people. They came out guns blazing and we managed to contain them and that’s a positive from us. We had some clear goal scoring opportunities but if it wasn’t for the brilliance of their goal keeper, we’d be smiling now with three points in the bag,” said Mogudi.

While the draw was a positive outcome for Wits, the team will have to maintain the same stamina when the season resumes in August when they take on UJ and TUT Pretoria, two teams who are tough opponents to look out for.

Game on lock down

Wits threatened to score as early as the sixth minute when Innocent Magasela’s free-kick,  assisted by Wonderboy Frank’s header, was saved by VUT’s goalkeeper. Four minutes later, Wits made another attempt, this time a corner kick from Zachary Cohen whose shot was deflected by the VUT goalkeeper. Magasela came back on the  rebound, with a kick that went over the goal post, sending chills down the fan’s spines.

In the second half, with the score at 0-0, Wits wasted no time to attack when Neo Makua impressed with a brilliant dribble, breaking VUT’s back line, and fed the ball to Tshepo Motsukunyane whose right foot shot was unfortunately saved by the goalkeeper.

VUT’s hammering machine struggled to threaten Wits as the game neared its dying seconds leaving the final whistle to blow with the score comfortably sitting at 0-0.

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Clever Boys pull narrow win at home to Maritzburg

by Palesa Radebe and Mfuneko Toyana

THE Clever Boys scored a late goal to edge Maritzburg United 2-1 and move to 6th place in the PSL standings, on Wednesday night at Bidvest stadium.

With an impressive turn out from Bidvest supporters and a lively band keeping them excited, Maritzburg United did well to dominate the initial stages of the game. And their early initiative paid off when Mario Booysen scored for the away team from a well taken corner kick in the first 15th minute of the game.

Wits’ first goal attempt came from striker Ryan Chapman, who was thought to be offside but the linesman kept his flag down, only for him to miss a clear chance.

Wits’ Papi Faty also missed a chance to equalise the score when he headed the ball over the bar, following a good corner kick from Matthew Pattison.

Thirty-eight minutes into the game Asive Langwe equalised for Wits with a header after an accurate cross by Mzikayise Mashaba, to leave the scores level at half-time.

Wits came back in the second half determined to claim all three points, and could have taken the lead twice within the first ten minutes.

First Maritzburg goalkeeper Shoab Walters saved well from a close range shot by Chapman, and 5 minutes later Papi Faty’s shot from outside the box beat Walters but not the right-hand upright.

Wits continued to threaten United’s goal and the midfield combination of Matthew Pattison, Tenashe Nengomasha and captain Sibusiso Vilakazi kept Ernst Middendorp’s team on the back foot.

As a result the KZN team relied on the counter-attack, but centre-backs Langu Sweswe and Sandile Sibande comfortably foiled United’s efforts and Wits continued to hunt for a winner.

It finally came when Ryan Chapman turned a defender outside the box and sent a wonder strike into the roof of the Maritzburg net.

It was a well-deserved victory for Clive Barker’s charges and the fans that never stopped singing.

palesa@witsvuvuzela, mfuneko@witsvuvuzela