Clever Boys too smart for Amabhubesi

Goal scorers: * Bidvest Wits (2) 4 (Hills 32’, Haskins 39’, Bantam 66’, Mngomeni 88’) * Thanda Royal Zulu (1) 1 (Wadabwa 30’)

Midfielder Marawaan Bantam was the star for the Clever Boys, scoring one goal and providing two assists in a Man of the Match performance that sees Wits through the last eight of the competition.

Thanda had the first clear scoring chance of the game in the seventh minute, with striker Peter Wadabwa beating Wits goalkeeper Francis Chansa to a long ball but his lob from the corner of the penalty area failed to find the target.

The game ebbed and flowed without any real urgency or rhythm until three quick-fire goals in the space of nine minutes brought it to life.

On the half hour mark, somewhat against the run of play, Amabhubesi snatched the lead. Wadabwa stole the ball off Thando Mdluli in the penalty area and proceeded to beat Chansa from a tight angle with a superb curling finish into the bottom corner.

Yet less than two minutes later the visitors went to sleep at the back and allowed Thando Mngomeni to pick out the unmarked Houston Hills, who slid in to chip the ball over goalkeeper Nimrod Tsengwa and bring the Clever Boys level at 1-1 with his first goal for the club.

And things got even better for Wits in the 39th minute when they surged into the lead. Mark Haskins started and finished a clinical attacking move, winning the ball in midfield, spreading it wide to Bantam and then heading home from a cross to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

The early phase of the second half saw little in the way of goal scoring chances until Bantam made it 3-1 to Wits in the 66th minute. Right-back Sipho Mngomezulu provided a lovely cross from the byline and Bantam’s glancing header at the near post passed between Tsengwa’s legs before rippling the back of the net.

Two minutes before the end of regulation time, with Thanda throwing players forward in a desperate attempt to get themselves back in the contest, Mngomeni swept home a pass from Bantam to make it 4-1 and kill off the visitors’ hopes.

The game ended on a sour note for Wits when substitute Calvin Kadi was deservedly shown a straight red card by referee Daniel Volgraaf for a shocking elbow to the face of Maloka.

Wits: (4-5-1) Chansa; Mngomezulu, Batabaire, Mdluli, Phungwayo; Myeni (Zamaio 90’), Radebe, Mngomeni, Bantam, Haskins (Sibande 80’); Hills (Kadi 74’)

Thanda: (3-5-2) Tsengwa; Kibe, Mohammed, Mokoena; Sithole, Manoka, Mathe, Chiloane (Maloka 46’), Mbele (Yemo 80’); Mzizi (Studzinski 55’), Wadabwa