Pule leads Clever Boys to TKO win

Vincent Pule scored a 90th minute winner as Bidvest Wits were crowned 2017 Telkom Knockout champions following a 1-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Saturday evening.

The second-half substitute converting from close range to break Siwelele hearts in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Victory secured only a third League Cup win for the Clever Boys and a first since 1995.

The early exchanges were rather uneventful in terms of goalmouth action as both teams struggled to find any sort of rhythm. There was no shortage of desire, though, as either set of players got stuck in with a lot of physicality on display.

Bidvest Wits looked the most likely to open the scoring and having threatened to find a way in behind the Siwelele defence, they finally did just that in the 26th minute and were only denied the opener due to the woodwork.

Frank Mhango's driving run almost rewarded with a goal as the ball deflected off Wandisile Letlabika and onto the one post, across to the other, without crossing the line. Daylon Claasen looked sure to hammer home the rebound, but he failed to do so with the goal at his mercy.

The stroke of luck sparked Celtic into life as they went in search of the opening goal and almost found it in added time, but Ndumiso Mabena could only succeed in directing his shot straight at Darren Keet, following a scramble in the penalty area.

In the end, neither side were able to rattle the back of the net before the referee brought a conclusion to the first half. Goalless at the break.

The same tempo would follow in the second stanza with the first chance of the half falling to Phunya Sele Sele in the 63rd minute. Keet's fingertips keeping the score at 0-0 as Victor Letsoalo watched his header attempt rattle the crossbar.

Siwelele duly dominated the ensuing minutes as the Clever Boys were forced onto the back foot. The Braamfontein-based club, though, would have their chances as Amr Gamal forced Patrick Tignyemb into a diving save in the 77th minute.

The Egyptian striker showcasing his talent as he let fly on the volley - only to be denied by the Siwelele skipper.

In a game that lacked real urgency throughout, extra-time looked sure to follow only for Gamal and Pule to combine late in a moment of brilliance. The latter with a back-heel finish as Bidvest Wits added more silverware to their growing trophy cabinet.

Bidvest Wits (0) 1 (Pule 90')

Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 0

Bidvest Wits: Keet - Allie, Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Hlanti - Monare, Claasen (Pule 72'), Mlambo (Motshwari 63'), Klate - Gamal, Mhango (Ntshanegase 90+3').

Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Pfumbidzai, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Letlabika - Baloyi, Phahlane - Letsoalo, Hotto, Mabena - Nyundu (Mabaso 89').