/ 1 September 2007

Second straight win for Wits

Bidvest Wits fought off the constantly attacking Kaizer Chiefs to record a second great, early-season victory in the space of a week in a Castle Premiership clash at the Olympia Stadium on Friday night.

Noah Chivuta slotted home from the penalty spot in the 65th minute to give the Clever Boys another memorable victory and to send them to the top of the log — for now. Referee Abdul Ebrahim adjudged Jonathan Quartey to have handled the ball when he bundled Dale Studzinski off the ball after a throw-in.

The game started at a frenetic pace with Chiefs attacking from all angles. However, Wits’ number one Moeneeb Josephs was in form and denied the Amakhosi on numerous occasions.

The former Ajax Cape Town goalie prevented strikers Shaun Bartlett and Mabhuti Khenyeza from scoring throughout the 97 minutes in which the two sides locked horns. At the other end, Josephs’ counterpart, Itumeleng Khune, was faultless in goal but Josephs’ heroics earned his team a win and gave what was most definitely the best performance of any individual player this season.

Wits hardly got a sniff at goal and when they did then David Radebe proved just why Chiefs won’t miss him. Although the former Chiefs forward troubled his former teammates with his pace, he hardly tested Khune thoroughly.

It seemed certain the hosts would score when they got past Neil Winstanley and Ashraf Hendricks in defence, but if Josephs did not stop their shots then Bartlett and company shot just wide.

On the half-hour mark, Phil Evans took a snap-shot from 22 yards but Khune flew to his right to deny the midfielder a rare goal. At the other end, Josephs deprived Quartey from netting his first when he smothered a shot from the defender.

Chiefs, with more chances to score, went into the halftime break looking more anxious than their modest opponents.

As the second half wore on, the refereeing became more and more dubious as Chiefs and Wits were flagged for offside which, at times, were marginal or not at all.

Nevertheless, the teams went on looking for that evasive opener as Chiefs constantly found Josephs in the way and Wits struggled to create a half-decent chance.

As his side struggled to get forward, Wits’ wily coach Roger De Sa then argued with the fourth official who summoned the referee. After five minutes of meddling, De Sa trudged to the stands as the ref ordered him off the bench for using foul language.

A minute later Wits scored, a throw-in from Hendricks to a tightly-marked Studzinski in the box, as the referee adjudged Quartey to handle the ball. Although Khune went the right way, Chivuta’s spot-kick had too much pace on it and Wits went into the lead much to the dismay of the crowd.

Relentless in attack, Chiefs threw everything forward and just like Orlando Pirates, got seven minutes extra time, and again like Pirates, they also scored but it was called offside.

Chiefs captain Cyril Nzama headed against the bar when it seemed Josephs would be beaten but minutes later the Cape goalie pulled off a fantastic reflex save when he denied Bartlett’s header from six yards out.

Amakhosi striker Kaizer Motaung jnr entered the fray and the stitched-up Studzinski dropped into defence to help out the defiant Wits backline.

Tenacious defending, 10 players in their half and the heroics of Josephs got Wits three points and the scalp of another Soweto giant.

They take the top spot on the log with seven points from three games. – Sapa