Wits edge Team of Choice
Defending champions Bidvest Wits survived a late scare to progress to the Telkom Knockout semi-finals with a tough 2-1 win over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.
- Maritzburg United 1 Bidvest Wits 2
- Allie own-goal put Students ahead
- Mkhwanazi doubles advantage before break
- Figareido nets first goal for United in final quarter
- Wits hold on to join Baroka, Pirates in semis
The visitors went ahead in the 39th minute when a Haashim Domingo's shot was deflected into his own goal by Nazeer Allie.
Buhle Mkhwanazi extended the visiting teams’ advantage when he headed in from a corner.
Justice Figareido pulled a goal back with a superb effort after 71 minutes and even though United pressed for an equaliser, it did not arrive.
Wits almost hit the lead with their first chance, which was gifted to them courtesy of Siyanda Xulu’s poor back pass as Simon Murray intercepted and dinked a looping shot just wide of goal – the hosts spared some early embarrassment.
Maritzburg’s best chance in the opening quarter arrived when a quick breakaway ended with Fortune Makaringe dragging just wide as the visiting defenders backed away.
At the other end, Domingo had a decent chance for the Students, but mis-hit his effort.
But there was no let off for the Team of Choice the next time the winger had the ball at his feet. Even though his shot was heading wide, Allie got a foot in and deflected the effort into his own goal.
The lead was then doubled in stoppage time at the end of the half when Mkhwanazi arrived late to meet an Elias Pelembe corner as the Students took a comfortable lead into the break.
United shifted gears after the break, but they were still struggling to break down the visiting defence.
Yannick Zakri had the best of the chances before the hour, but his half-volley was straight at goalkeeper Darren Keet.
After a few long-rang efforts at the other end, the home side finally got their goal back with 19 minutes to play when Figareido latched on to a mis-hit pass by Zakri in the box, wrapped his foot around the ball and thumped it into the right corner.
United threw bodies forward thereafter, but the equaliser failed to arrive as they exited the competition.