Absa Premiership

Maritzburg dent Wits' title aspirations

FRUSTRATED:  Gavin Hunt says he has not seen anything like what his club is going through before. (Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix)
FRUSTRATED: Gavin Hunt says he has not seen anything like what his club is going through before. (Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix)

Cape Town - Thabiso Kutumela bagged the only goal of the game as Maritzburg United dented Wits' title aspirations with a 1-0 win at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The visitors started the encounter on the front as they went on search of an early goal and very nearly got the breakthrough they were looking for in the opening 10 minutes of play.

Jeremy Brockie twice went close to firing Maritzburg ahead, seeing his half-volley blocked by the Wits defence, before Richard Ofori was forced into making a diving save low and to his right to deny the New Zealand international's headed effort.

The Clever Boys eventually mustered a noteworthy response in the 19th minute as new signing Bienvenu Eva Nga came agonisingly close to guiding Sifiso Hlanti's pinpoint cross into the back of the net.

Maritzburg hit back with a chance of their own three minutes latter but it came to nothing as Phumlani Ntshangase, on a season-long loan from Wits, snatched his shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

The deadlock was finally broken on 41 minutes, Maritzburg's Kutumela slotting the ball home from inside the box after latching onto a through ball from Rushine De Reuck.

Wits had a great chance to level matters on the stroke of half-time when Terrence Dzvukamanja burst through on goal but Ofori was alert to the danger, getting down well to snuff out the danger.

The hosts opted to make two changes at the half-time break in a bid to turn things around, Eva Nga and Kgaogelo Sekgota making way for Gift Motupa and Deon Hotto.

The double substitution appeared to have the desired affect, with Wits pouring forward at every opportunity as they went in search of the equaliser.

However, apart from a failed penalty appeal on the hour mark, Wits were unable to breach an obstinate Maritzburg defence.

In fact, Maritzburg went close to scoring a few moments later as Mxolisi Kunene failed to keep his composure, blazing a powerful shot over the bar after being teed up by Kutumela.

In the end, however, it mattered little as Maritzburg held firm in the closing stages of the contest to claim all three points and move level with Gavin Hunt's side on 30 points.

- TEAMTalk Media

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