Absa Premiership

Wits still in title hunt with win over Black Leopards

Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)
Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)

Wits were in control against Black Leopards on Tuesday night as they ground out a 1-0 win in their Absa Premiership clash at Bidvest Stadium.

Deon Hotto created an early scare for the travelers as he threatened their goal in the fourth minute with a curling left-footed shot from long range which went just wide.

Wits were in control of proceedings for extended periods and carved out most of the opportunities to attack, but in the 16th minute it was Leopards veteran Thabo Matlaba who tested Brandon Petersen with a swerving shot on target which he parried away.

The tension was released in the 30th minute as the Clever Boys turned their dominance into an opening goal. Hotto was the creative force behind the goal as he curled a ball into the box from the right channel, finding Terrence Dzvukamanja who headed home at the far post.

The chances were coming thick and fast for coach Gavin Hunt's men as the first half drew to a close.

A corner kick from the left picked out captain Buhle Mkhwanazi who shanked his shot wide from close range, before Thabang Monare drilled a low shot wide after running onto a loose ball.

Goalkeeper Rotshidzwa Muleka was forced into a brilliant save just shy of the half-time break after Cole Alexander drove forward and played in Hotto who produced a challenging strike.

The second half started slowly as Wits seemed content to retain possession and slow the game down.

After the hour mark Wits looked like scoring their second as Kgaogelo Sekgota found a pocket of space to exploit, but he couldn't keep his low drive on target.

Lidoda Duvha had a late penalty appeal after a ball into the Wits area hit Bienvenu Eva Nga's hand, but the referee waved away the protests as there didn't appear to be any intent on the player's part and his arm seemed to be in a natural position.

In the 86th minute Wits substitute Haashim Domingo came within inches of netting the home team's second as he rattled the woodwork with a fierce strike from outside the box.

In stoppage-time Wits star Elias Pelembe also hit the frame of the Leopards goal after cutting through the heart of their defence.

Leopards had a last-gasp chance to steal a point but Petersen kept his composure in goal and Wits went on to claim a deserved victory at the end.

They now sit in sixth place in the league standings while Leopards remain rooted to the bottom.

- TEAMtalk media

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