Wits claim MTN8 trophy in style


A tidy sum of R8million was pocketed by a Wits outfit that were good value for their win as they claimed silverware for the first time since 2010.

Daine Klate scored on either side of a goal from Rodgers as Gavin Hunt's men easily disposed of a Sundowns side who only really got out of the blocks in the second stanza.

Under very testing conditions it was the side from Johannesburg that adjusted quickest as they got off the mark with less than a minute played.

The Clever Boys had the ball in the back of the net after only 35 seconds courtesy of a low strike from Klate that arrowed into the bottom corner.

The lead was almost doubled not long afterwards as Klate picked up a loose ball in the centre of the park and threaded it through to Elias Pelembe who could only side-foot wide under pressure.

Klate had a chance to grab a second in the 12th minute from slightly further out than his opener but curled the ball over the crossbar.

The conditions made going into tackles a dangerous prospect and some may deem Hlompho Kekana lucky to have escaped with only a yellow for a wild challenge on Klate but the usually uncompromising Victor Gomes showed leniency.

Pressure from the Students intensified and Mhango saw his headed effort fly into the ground and just wide with Denis Onyango scrambling.

It wasn't long before Wits had a second with Klate playing provider as he challenged bravely in the air before the ball broke for former Sundowns man Rodgers to sneak the ball in from a tight angle.

Finding themselves a further goal down Sundowns tried to get a foothold in the game but had a difficult time breaking down a disciplined Wits backline.

Wits, too, did not carve out the same kind of opportunities they had been creating earlier in the game as they were resigned to shots from range.

Sundowns registered a first shot of the game in the dying seconds of the half as Keagan Dolly curled a free-kick just wide.

Mosimane's men came out of the break looking like a different side and had a host of opportunities early in the half with the best Tiyani Mabunda's looping header which forced Keet to tip the ball over the bar.

The Brazilians looked to be in control but Wits hit them on the counter with Rodgers slipping in Klate who stretched to stab the ball home.

Seemingly relaxed by the substantial advantage they were enjoying Wits began to enjoy themselves and saw effort from Thabang Monare force a save from Onyango before Pelembe fired just wide.

At the other end a set-piece presented an opportunity for Mabunda but he slammed the ball over the crossbar from close-range.

Wits could have added further gloss to the scoreline as they game approached the final 10 minutes but Onyango got down bravely to take the ball of Rodgers' feet.

As time ran out Sundowns began to visibly lose hope of salvaging the game but Kekana did attempt the spectacular but his acrobatic effort was nowhere near troubling Keet.

Wits turned on the style in the closing stages as they coasted to a comfortable win and a first trophy in six years.