Wits claim valuable point

Phunya Sele Sele dominated proceedings for the most part but were unable to breach the visitors’ defence – partly due to poor finishing, though goalkeeper Darren Keet did make a couple of fine saves.

The visitors started promisingly and almost took a fourth minute lead when Ryan Chapman’s shot-cum-cross from the right of the penalty area caught Patrick Tignyemb out of position, but the goalkeeper did enough to turn the ball behind for a corner kick.

On eight minutes Celtic created a good opportunity when Prince Hlela floated a fine cross into the box but the unmarked Thokozane Mshengu failed to hit the target with a header.

The home side was dealt a blow midway through the first half when striker Nathan Paulse pulled with a thigh injury and had to be substituted. Former Wits player Clifford Mulenga came off the bench to replace the lanky forward.

On the half hour mark Moses Spandeel sprung the visitors’ offside trap but goalkeeper Darren Keet moved quickly off his line to force the Celtic attacker wide – Spandeel had a second attempt that appeared to hit the arm of right-back Sipho Mngomezulu but referee Buyile Gqubule waved away the penalty appeals.

With just five minutes left in the first half, Celtic twice came close to opening the scoring. First, Prince Olomu ballooned a shot over the crossbar after meeting a good low cross from Mulenga. Then, just seconds later, Keet inexplicably gave the ball to Siphelele Mthembu in the Wits penalty area but the keeper redeemed himself by doing just enough to deny the striker.

Mthembu had another chance at goal just a couple of minutes later, glancing a header just wide from a corner kick. Celtic continued to pile the pressure on the Students’ defence in what remained of the first half but the interval arrived with the score line still blank.

Phunya Sele Sele maintained their dominance of possession in the second half but struggled to convert their opportunities. On 64 minutes Spandeel was presented with perhaps the best chance of the game but he only managed to shoot straight at Keet.

Celtic coach Clinton Larsen must have been concerned that his side’s inability to make good on their superiority would come back to haunt them, but Wits mustered little in attack and rarely troubled Tignyemb between the home team’s posts.