Students leapfrog into the quarters

2011-10-22 16:54

The Students dragged themselves into a maiden quarterfinal berth of the R4.25 million competition yesterday for the first time since the tourney’s inception five seasons ago.

But the quality of football on the day – with a handful of supporters in attendance – did not match the immaculate condition of the Wits University campus pitch.

However, the slender 1-0 victory against AmaZulu, a side they hammered 3-1 in a league contest three weeks ago, was a welcome result for coach Roger de Sa’s team to dust off a 3-1 annihilation by Moroka Swallows here last weekend.

It all began in scrappy fashion but the home team nonetheless made a breakthrough courtesy of a rather fortuitous effort.

Bukasa Kasongo tapped the ball past his own goalkeeper, Mbongeni Mzimela, inside the opening quarter of the match. This was after the big centre-back succumbed under pressure from striker Sibusiso Vilakazi.

The goal came at the back of a fewer occasions when Wits looked jittery at the back, coupled with a litany of comical clearances from goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro.

For their part, AmaZulu’s front line of Ayanda Dlamini and Stanton Lewis failed to exert any pressure as they couldn’t forge any sort of coordination, together with the normally reliable Tangeni Shipahu on the right wing.

On the other end, the hosts should have taken a meaningful lead into the break had Vilakazi and Bongolethu Jayiya found the target.

Vilakazi was unmarked inside the box when he failed to connect a cross while Jayiya fired his shot into the upright two minutes before half-time.

Special praise to De Sa for handing responsibility to young players and yesterday The Students had Lehlogonolo Masalela in central midfield.

The 19-year-old belied his rookie status, playing as cover to his more experienced fellow midfielders.

His stability as anchorman left playmakers Sifiso Myeni and Vilakazi with only their offensive duties to worry about.

The introduction of Kagiso Senamela for Thamsanqa Sangweni early on in the second half injected some desired hunger in the Usuthu attack. And it was mainly in the second stanza that the visitors came closer to the target.

The closest they got was through substitute Goodman Dlamini who had his effort smothered by Murambadoro from close range midway into the half. Senamela also had a cracker towards the end.

AmaZulu were left to ponder what to do next as their chase for a win continues.

Bidvest Wits (1) 1

AmaZulu 0

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