A gutsy display by Bidvest Wits secured them a well-earned 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in an action packed Absa Premiership match at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.
The three points were secured via old-fashioned graft and some fine goalkeeping from Darren Keet, who saved a penalty from Elias Pelembe after the Students had taken a first half lead thanks to James Mayinga’s own goal.
Downs settled into their rhythm early on and for the first 10 minutes it was Wits who were having to work extremely hard to close down space.
The Tshwane side however failed to find much penetration and Wits keeper Keet only had a couple of routine saves to make.
But around the 14 minute mark the Students began to show signs that they were not at the game just to make up the numbers, signalled by Asive Langwe’s shot being blocked on the line by James Mayinga.
The Clever Boys quickly began to grow in confidence as their blistering attacks began to show cracks in the Sundowns rearguard – the pace of their counter-attacks was simply awesome.
And in the 17th minute Wits were ahead when a dangerous square ball from Tshabangu was turned into the net for an own goal by Mayinga.
The Johannesburg side did not let up there – they continued to attack, exposing Sundowns every time the team in yellow lost the ball – the large pitch seeming to assist Wits in their swift forays.
There were half chances as Sifiso Vilakazi and Sifiso Myeni fired over from just outside the box.
And just before the break it was nearly 2-0 as another telling counter resulted in Tshabangu unleashing from a tight angle, only to be denied by a fine save by Wayne Sandilands.
Sundowns started the second half looking fired up, but had to wait until the 62nd minute for their first real chance which saw Nyasha Mushekwi’s shot cleared off the line by Brad Philips.
There was more heroic defending from Wits six minutes later.
Having conceded a penalty for a foul on Mushekwi, Wits keeper Darren Keet redeemed himself in the best possible way by saving Pelembe’s spot kick.
Downs continued to come at Wits, but it was only in the 90th minute that they really came close – Richard Henyekane unleashed a rocket of a 25-yarder, but Keet was up to the task, ensuring the three points with a breathtaking acrobatic save.