Wits’ title hopes all but gone after draw

Bidvest Wits’ Absa Premiership title hopes are all but gone after they were held to a 1-1 draw by10-man SuperSport United at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday evening.

The result saw the Clever Boys move back into third place on the log, but they are five points adrift of leaders Orlando Pirates with just two rounds of the season remaining. Matsatsantsa, meanwhile, remain in sixth spot.

Wits made a strong start to the match, including a powerful left-footed effort from Frank Mhango which forced a sharp save from Ronwen Williams as early as the second minute.

Yet SuperSport enjoyed a couple of good chances from successive corner kicks in the 13th minute, one of which saw Vuyo Mere clear off the line from Bradley Grobler’s glancing header.

United looked to be more fluent team going forward, but they were mostly restricted to long-range efforts which failed to trouble Wits goalkeeper Ricardo Goss.

The Clever Boys broke the deadlock in the 39th minute, with Mhango getting free down the left of the penalty area before sending in a low shot/cross which Williams could only palm into the danger area – Sifiso Hlanti arrived to turn home the loose ball and put the visitors 1-0 up.

Matsatsantsa hit back to ensure the game was locked at 1-1 heading into halftime, with Clayton Daniels scoring with a header from Aubrey Modiba’s corner kick in the second minute of injury time.

United made a change at the start of the second half, sending on Ghampani Lungu for Siyabonga Nhlapo, while they should have claimed the lead for the first time through another header from a corner kick by Daniels just before the hour mark, but his time he couldn't find the target.

On 65 minutes the hosts were unjustly reduced to 10 men. Dean Furman challenged Haashim Domingo and was caught in the face by a deliberate elbow from the Wits man. However, the referee bizarrely booked the United midfielder, who then immediately picked up a second yellow card for protesting the decision.

Wits then had their own unjust treatment from the match officials, with the linesman not awarding what was a clear goal in the 85th minute: Terrence Dzvukamanja got on the end of Hlanti’s pull-back from the by-line and his shot hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced over the goal line and came out.

The teams will return to league action next Saturday, May 4, with SuperSport away to Maritzburg United and Wits at home to Baroka FC.

SuperSport United (1) 1 (Daniels 45+2’)

Bidvest Wits (1) 1 (Hlanti 39’)

SuperSport: Williams, Kekana, Khumalo, Daniels, Nhlapo (Lungu 46’), Rusike, Furman, Mokoena, Modiba (Keene 81’), Machupu, Grobler (Webber 69’)

Wits: Goss, Mere, Johannes, Mkhwanazi, Nonyane, Domingo (Dzvukamanja 67’), Alexander, Monare, Hlanti, Mhango (Motupa 72’), Murray (Pelembe 84’)