Wits beat Pirates to go top
Posted: 15 February 2017 Time: 17:56
Bidvest Wits piled more misery on Orlando Pirates as they beat the 10-man Buccaneers 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night to go top of the Absa Premiership.
A sublime first-half brace from Gabadinho Mhango had Wits in the driving seat but Happy Jele pulled one back in the second period before his side's attempts to restore parity were curtailed by the dismissal of Jackson Mabokgwane.
Both sides took a little time to adjust to the sodden pitch which got a serious soaking an hour prior to kick-off but it was Wits who settled quickest.
The Clever Boys were twice denied by Mabokgwane in the eighth minute with the stopper first getting hands behind Mahlambi's stinging effort before denying Keene on the follow up.
Pirates began to get a foothold as the half wore on and the home side strung together a few clever passes that released Memela but he could do little more than scuff a tame effort towards Keet's goal.
Lorch was the next to test Keet as he found space out wide and cut in before firing straight at the keeper before Memela made the stopper work with a much better strike than earlier in the match.
The Buccaneers were made to pay for their inabilty to convert their chances as Wits broke the deadlock through Mhango with Mahlambi having been denied only moments earlier.
The goal came just before the half-hour mark as the Malawian neatly beat two defenders before curling an absolute pearler past Mabokgwane.
In the 37th minute Pirates felt they were deserving of a penalty as Manyisa drove into the box and went to ground as Allie slid in and failed to make contact with the ball.
However, the referee was unmoved by the appeals as it appeared the Pirates captain may have already been going to ground before the challenge from Allie.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sea Robbers as Mhango leapt brilliantly to head home in the dying moments of the first-half to double Wits' advantage.
Coming out of the break Pirates were hanging on to plenty of possession but were unable to turn it into chances of any real consequence for the first quarter of an hour of the second stanza.
As the game went past the hour mark the home side finally made a breakthrough as Jele pounced upon a loose ball after Wome's header was kept out.
A barrage of Gcaba long throws kept the pressure on the Clever Boys as Pirates pushed for the equaliser but a nightmarish mistake from Mabokgwane led to his side being reduced to 10 men.
The stopper was forced to rush from his box as Mhango tore forward to meet a ball over the top and Mabokgwane handled outside of the are as the pacey attacker attempted to chip him.
With Jele in goal Wits resorted to shots from range but were unable to test the stand-in glove man until the final minutes when Mhango was denied from close range.
HOME: Orlando Pirates
Coach: Augusto Palacios
AWAY: Bidvest Wits
Coach: Gavin Hunt