Absa Premiership

Wits defeat Citizens to summit Premiership table

Gavin Hunt (Getty Images)
Gavin Hunt (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - Scot Simon Murray scored twice to give Wits a 2-0 win at Cape Town City on Tuesday and top place in the Absa South African Premiership.

After failing to score in their last two matches, Wits coach Gavin Hunt gave the 26-year-old former Dundee United striker a starting place and was rewarded with two first-half goals.

Murray converted a softly-awarded penalty on eight minutes, sending giant Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh the wrong way at Cape Town Stadium.

His second goal came in stoppage time at the end of the opening half as he beat two players in a run across the penalty area before firing into the net.

Murray, who joined Wits three months ago from Scottish Premiership outfit Hibernian, preferred to talk about his team-mates rather than the brace.

"We had to dig in because Cape Town is not an easy place to come and collect three points," he said. "Going back to the top of the table is great."

Johannesburg-based Wits had surrendered first place to Orlando Pirates after drawing at Maritzburg United and suffering a shock home defeat by Polokwane City.

Cape Town coach and former South Africa star Benni McCarthy made a number of changes from the side that won the MTN8 final three days ago, believing fresh legs would help.

But the gamble backfired and City rarely threatened to cut the deficit during the second half as Wits defended impressively.

"It was not one of our greatest games," conceded McCarthy, a 2004 UEFA Champions League final winner with Jose Mourinho's Porto.

"We were too slow all night and I must praise Wits for doing their homework well on us," added the record South Africa scorer with 31 goals.

Wits have 16 points from eight matches, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates 14 each and Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United 13 each.

After three consecutive victories, Chiefs had to settle for a 0-0 draw at promoted Highlands Park near Johannesburg in a game of missed chances by both teams.

"Chiefs always play to win so I am disappointed that we did not collect three points, but the team put in a lot of effort," said Italian coach Giovanni Solinas.

Highlands coach Owen de Gama hailed his game plan, saying: "We forced Chiefs to play long balls and policed their biggest threat (Khama Billiat) very well."

In other matches, Polokwane came from behind to draw 1-1 at home against SuperSport and the kwaZulu-Natal derby between bottom club AmaZulu and Maritzburg United ended 0-0.

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