/ 21 October 2007

Wits held to draw by Santos

Bidvest Wits were held to a 1-1 draw by Santos in an Absa Premier League played at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.

Former Santos midfielder Marawaan Bantam netted in the third minute with a close-range header and Erwin Isaacs scored with a low shot which surprised the Wits captain and goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.

Wits scored early when Bantam connected with a cross from Rene Richards on the left flank. The hosts seemed more comfortable on the ball as they pushed it around looking for a gap.

David Radebe was a handful for Santos fullback Thomrick October who struggled to keep up with the striker’s pace. Radebe’s shooting was off though and neither he nor Dale Studzinski thoroughly tested former Wits keeper Wayne Roberts.

Thembile Kanono pulled the strings for Santos in midfield and got stuck in too, especially with his former teammate Bantam. Santos slowly got into the game but found the going tough upfront as Neil Winstanley did not hesitate to put in a hard challenge.

Just after 30 minutes of play Radebe and Kanono tussled in an off-the-ball incident which referee Daniel Bennet spotted. He called the duo over and brandished a red card to both players.

With Santos’s playmaker off the field, the visitors were certain to struggle but South Africa under-23 international Isaacs stepped up to lead his team in attack. His speculative long-range effort got the better of Moeneeb Josephs who lay embarrassed on the turf.

With Isaacs in control of midfield now, the Capetonians surged forward confidently. Winstanley fouled Romano Scott 20m from goal but Isaacs’s effort from the free kick hit the wall.

The teams went in to the break with the scores level.

Not much changed in the second half as the ball went back and forth and both sides’ strikers seemed incapable of scoring. Wits came close in the dying minutes of the game as they pinned Santos in their own half.

Veteran defender Musa Otieno kept his cool and made timely clearances and interceptions as his team battled for the point.

Wits are fourth with 11 points while Santos are third from the bottom with four draws and no wins from five games. – Sapa