Wits, Stars draw
Posted: 31 January 2009 Time: 18:06
Bidvest Wits earned their first points since Christmas when they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Free State Stars at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams came into this game looking for a vital three points that would turn their season around. The men from Free State dominated the early exchanges before the Students slowly clawed their way back into the game by their fingernails, only to go a goal down six minutes before the half-time break.
The first chance of the game fell to Ea Lla Koto in the tenth minute when a nice passing movement found Tebelo Mofokeng unmarked six yards out from goal. The Stars striker, however, was quickly closed down and his snap shot had no oomph, which allowed Energy Murambadoro to easily hold onto the shot.
Mofokeng should have put his side ahead three minutes later when he rose above the defence to header an in-swinging free-kick against the crossbar from only six yards out.
The entire Wits side seemed to be asleep for the opening twenty minutes, but they were awakened by a stunning Fabricio Rodrigues crack-shot on goal in the 23rd minute from 12 yards out, which had Kennedy Mweene scrambling to his left to parry the shot around the post for a corner-kick.
The Clever Boys became more prominent in the midfield, creating more space down the flanks for the wingers, but their joy was short-lived as Stars' 'man of the moment' Sthembiso Ngcobo put his side ahead in the 31st minute.
Sipho Nkosi delivered an inch-perfect cross into the box which Ngcobo met with a powerful header from 12 yards out that gave the keeper no chance, 1-0.
The boys from Jo'burg retreated back into their shells once more, allowing Stars to take control of the midfield and control ball possession. Roger de Sa was clearly not happy with his boys as the half ended and looked like he was going to have some stern words with them in the change room.
The half-time talk seemed to work for Wits as they started the second half in a much more positive manner, defending higher up the field and standing their ground in the midfield.
However, their resistance only lasted so long before their defence showed why they have lost their first three games of 2009.
Had it not have been for a fantastic save by Murambadoro in the Wits goal in the 67th minute, Wits would have gone two goals down. The Students goalkeeper did brilliantly, diving full stretch to his left to tip a powerful Siyabonga Mdluli shot around the post for a corner.
Wits looked like they left their playing boots at home till an all-round team effort produced a superb goal that brought them level eleven minutes from time. After some great off-the-ball running and some intricate passing, Calvin Kadi found the ball at his feet 12 yards out from goal and finished off a well-worked team effort. Kadi made no mistake, firing the ball into the top left corner, 1-1.
All of a sudden Wis looked like a team hungry for victory, and Kadi provided the motivation once more when he forced a great save out of Mweene in the 82nd minute, shooting from 25 yards. Mweene did well to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.
The game ended 1-1 and Wits picked up their first points of 2009.