Wits suffer narrow defeat in Mali

CAF Confederation Cup

Bidvest Wits’ second CAF Confederation Cup group stage clash ended in a 1-0 defeat to Djoliba at the Stade du 26 Mars on Sunday evening.

A full-strength Wits, aside from Deon Hotto and Gift Motupa set out from the goalless draw against AC Horoya in their group stage opener last Sunday.

The Clever Boys’ debut campaign in Dobsonsville last week got off to a positive start, as did the Malians away to Al-Nasr in Group C’s other clash.

Zimbabwean Terrence Dzvukamanja missed the best chance for the Clever Boys earlier when he misfired a one-on-one at the midway stage of the first half.

Djoliba punished the Clever Boys for their profligacy after slow defending allowed Boubacar Talatou to beat Brandon Peterson from close-range following a ball through on the half-hour mark.

Fortunes turned on the visitors when the referee waved away a penalty in added time after Dzvukamanja went down from Adama Keita’s challenge in the area.

Wits tackled the West African side for the very first time in their 99th year history, and looked towards a first-ever group victory with a strong comeback strategy after the break.

Gavin Hunt’s side though remained on the back foot, as the towering Malians proved difficult to overcome in all departments of the field.

A double substitution in Phathutshedzo Nange and Molahlehi Khunyedi looked to brighten up the Clever Boys for the final 20 minutes, but it wasn’t to be for the South Africans as Djoliba held on for the win.