Wits book TKO semifinal spot

Nazier Allie and Gift Motupa during the 2017 Telkom Knockout match between BidVest Wits and Baroka © BakonePix

Amr Gamal scored the only goal of the game as Bidvest Wits booked their place in the semifinals of the 2017 Telkom Knockout Cup with a 1-0 win over Baroka FC at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday evening.

The two teams have endured contrasting starts to the Absa Premiership season with Gavin Hunt's men occupying a relegation spot heading into the international break.

But the Braamfontein-based club made sure they have something to smile about as the players leave for national duty, having sealed their place in the final four of the TKO.

The visitors expressed their intent from the onset, with Darren Keet forced into a brilliant save to deny Gift Motupa within the opening two minutes. The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper fully stretched to keep out the live wire midfielders's dipping effort.

It would be the hosts, though, to open the scoring with Gamal bagging his third of the competition in the 10th minute. The Egyptian forward guiding home Vincent Pule's low cross.

Pule emerged as the Clever Boys best player in the opening half and was only denied a goal of his own by Virgil Vries, who made a good save to keep out the attacker in the 36th minute.

At the other end of the park, Motupa continued to trouble the Bidvest Wits defence and forced the best out of Keet once more four minutes later.

Straight through on goal, the man on-loan from Orlando Pirates failed in his attempt to beat the Bidvest Wits goal-minder who preserved the hosts lead heading into the break with a stunning save.

Bakgaga head coach Kgoloko Thobejane introduced Robin Ngalande following the interval as the Limpopo club intensified their search for the equalizer.

Ngalande - up against his former employers - found space in behind the Clever Boys defence on the hour mark, but like Albert Mothupa moments before him, he failed to find the back of the net as Keet continued to remain resolute.

Baroka huffed and puffed in the closing stages of the clash, but the Clever Boys stood firm as they booked their place in the final four.

Bakgaga made to rue a catalogue of missed chances on the night, as they now turn their attention back to keeping their spot atop the league standings.

Bidvest Wits (1) 1 (Gamal 10')
Baroka FC (0) 0

Bidvest Wits: Keet; Frosler, Hlatshwayo, Allie (Scott 62'), Hlanti - Ntshangase, Monare, Pelembe, Klate (Mkhwanazi (90+4') - Pule, Gamal (Keene 83').

Baroka FC: Vries; Kgoetyane, Mahashe, Banda, Mothupa, Moeti (Matloga 87'), Madubanya, Mdantsane (Nguzana 81'), Motupa - Chawapiwa, Macha (Ngalande 46').