Wits edge Black Leopards on penalties

Bidvest Wits have advanced into the last eight of the 2019 Nedbank Cup after defeating Black Leopards 3-2 on penalties, with the teams playing out a 1-1 draw after extra time at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Monday evening.

Clever Boys goalkeeper Ricardo Goss made two saves in shootout and Lidoda Duvha’s Lesedi Kapinga (who scored in the teams’ original meeting last week which was rained out) blasted the final spot kick over to see the visitors triumph.

Wits join TS Galaxy, Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic, Chippa United, Golden Arrows, Cape Town City and Cape Umoya United in Thursday’s quarterfinal draw.

Leopards enjoyed the first clear chance of the game, with Lesedi Kapinga warming the palms of goalkeeper Ricardo Goss in the 19th minute, having latched onto a poor attempted clearance from Sifiso Hlanti.

Just when the hosts seemed to be building momentum, Wits claimed the lead in the 35th minute. Elias Pelembe played in a low cross from the right to meet Gift Motupa’s late run into the box – the forward turned home a left-footed shot to put the visitors 1-0 up.

A goal down at halftime, Lidoda Duvha looked to boost their attack with the introduction of Lefa Hlongwane in place of Thokozani Sekotlong at the start of the second stanza.

And they certainly looked dangerous in the early minutes, with midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa flashing a long-range volley narrowly wide of Goss’ right-hand post in the 49th minute.

Yet Wits remained a danger at the other end of the field, with Scottish forward Simon Murray getting on the end of another cross from Pelembe to volley a shot wide of the far post, with goalkeeper Rotshidzwa Muleka left helpless.

As the half wore on, the Clever Boys had the air of a team looking to hang on to their lead, and in the 80th minute they were punished: a deflected cross from right-sided midfielder Joseph Mhlongo looped up to find Mwape Musonda at the far post, and the Zambian forward powered home a header for 1-1.

Musonda’s goal ensured an extra half hour and Leopards looked the likelier scorers. Their best chance arrived in the 117th minute, with Musonda lunging to get onto the end of an exquisite ball over the defence from Karabo Tshepe, but the forward sent his effort wide of the target.

Tshepe was also brought down just inside the 18-yard area by Keegan Ritchie, but the referee failed to grant the hosts a deserved penalty, leading to the post-match shootout.

Black Leopards (0) (1) 1 (Musonda 80’)

Bidvest Wits (1) (1) 1 (Motupa 35’)

After extra time, Wits won 3-2 on penalties

Leopards: Muleka, Munyai, Munganga, Ndou, Mashoene, Sekotlong (Hlongwane 46’), Masalesa, Ngambi (Tshepe 69’), Mhlongo (T. Ndlovu 97’), Kapinga, Musonda

Wits: Goss, Mere, Hlatshwayo, Johannes, Hlanti, Scott (Khumalo 88’), Alexander, Hotto, Pelembe, Motupa (Ritchie 68’), Murray (Majoro 69’)

Penalty sequence (Wits shoot first): Johannes scores 1-0, Musonda scores 1-1; Ritchie scores 2-1, Munyai misses 2-1; Pelembe scores 3-1, Tshepe misses 3-1; Hlatshwayo misses 3-1, T. Ndlovu scores 3-2; Mere misses 3-2, Kapinga misses 3-2.