SOMEHOW, Bidvest Wits contrived to miss a string of excellent chances and allow Kaizer Chiefs to pickpocket an almost impossibly unlikely 1-0 Absa Premiership victory here last night.
A disjointed Chiefs hardly had hardly a chance in the game against Wits’ impressively brawny, high-intensity performance before George Maluleka put Amakhosi ahead with a 59th-minute free-kick. Chiefs clawed onto that lead in the face of a continued onslaught in a match that had everything, including a pitch invasion by a young female protester bearing a “Fees Must Fall” banner.
It is that time of the season when coaches are left jiggling by injuries and suspensions.
On the evidence of this match, Wits have a greater quality in depth than their much-vaunted Johannesburg neighbours.
Wits had Nazeer Allie, Onismor Bhasera and Phumlani Ntshangase injured, although James Keene overcame his fears and Ben Motshwari was back from suspension. Yet, coach Gavin Hunt only had to make three unenforced changes from the Clever Boys’ 1-0 away victory against Golden Arrows on Saturday — Paseka Sekese for Sibusiso Vilakazi at playmaker, Keene for Henrico Botes at striker and Daine Klate at left-wing ahead of youngster Keoikantse Mosiatlhaga.
Chiefs coach Steve Komphela moved Clifford Moleko from right-back, where he had covered for Siboniso Gaxa in Amakhosi’s 3-2 home victory against Maritzburg United, to left-back for suspended Tshepo Masilela. Gaxa returned from the bench to start, and Mulomowandau Mathoho and Reneilwe Letsholonyane returned from suspension for Siyanda Xulu and Lucky Baloyi.
William Twala came in for injured wing, George Lebese.
With such an amount of changes, one might have expected a disjointed match. On the contrary, in front of a packed little Bidvest Stadium, on the best pitch in the country, the teams served up an electrifying game, befitting of sides that came into the match in second (Wits) and fourth (Chiefs).
Wits, though, far more so, and the Students could justifiably claim to have been denied victory.
Wits dominated the first half to an almost alarming extent, creating opportunities and pinning Chiefs on the back foot.
Bongani Khumalo’s handball resulted in a free-kick two metres outside the area. Maluleka placed a shot past the wall and stranded keeper, Moeneeb Josephs.