Wits reach Nedbank Cup Final

The goals were scored by Kingston Nkhatha for Stars while Marawaan Bantam and a brace from Mark Haskins sealed the win for Wits.

Stars took the lead as early as the 5th minute of the game when Kingston Nkhatha put them in front.

Wits gradually took control of the game and were level early in the second half through Marwaan Bantam, despite the brave attempts of Kennedy Mweene who made a number of telling saves to keep his team in the match as well as taking three knocks.

‘The Students’ were too strong and although Stars managed to hold out and took the game into extra-time Wits, through Mark Haskins, found two goals in the 117th and 120th minutes to win the game 3-1 and are the first team through to the 2010 Nedbank Cup final.

Wits finished the first half off stronger but a combination of their inability to properly deliver the ball to Vilakazi as well as find the target from close range as Bantam missed a glorious opportunity to have headed Wits level but failed to do so in first half injury time.

Wits late first half pressure continued in the second half as they drew level two minutes after the restart, Mahlangu cleared a Stars attack with a long ball from the left position which found Tshabangu.

He used his speed to tear down the wing and eventually cut the ball across to Bantam who shrugged off the attentions of Carelse to get to the ball before the Stars defender and hit Tshabangu’s layup past Chansa to restore parity.

Stars were under constant pressure in the second half and as they tried to clear a Wits attack the ball fell to Haskins who was situated on the edge of the 18-yard area, he pushed it forward to Tshabangu who fired the ball hard at Mweene who pushed out his left hand to make a last ditch stop of the ball. Pulling off a match saving stop in the 75th minute to keep his team in the game.

With the deadlock unbroken in regulation time, into extra-time the game went. The first real chance of added time fell to Bantam the Wits midfielder was on the end of some good build up play from his team. His drive at goal from inside the Stars 18 yard area looked like it was on its way in only for Nkosi to get in the way and kick the ball out for a corner.

In one sweeping move in the 112th minute the play moved quickly from one end of the field to the other, Lebeyane had a shot blocked and when Wits countered, Mark Haskins drew Mweene into an amazing two handed save with a powerful shot from the left edge of the Free State 18-yard area.

Mweene had endured a rough day getting knocked over by three Wits players through regulation time and extra time although he was able to keep his balance for most of the game, he could not do much when Vilkazi headed the ball into the path of Haskin’s. Who ran onto the flick and clipped the ball over Mweene to give Wits the lead in the 117th minute.

Vilakazi could have put Wits further ahead soon after Haskins goal but his long range crack at goal rattled the woodwork with Mweene beaten.

Wits did find a third goal as Vilakazi struck the bottom of the post with a shot from the edge of the 18 yard area, the ball ricocheted and fell to Haskins who blasted it past Mweene to see Wits through to their first Cup Final in five years.

Stars: Mweene, Taaibos, Nkosi, Cloete, Masehe, Lechesa (Mdluli 71’), Carelse, Madimabe (Motaung 90’+), Makola (Moholo 45’+), Lebyane, Nkhatha.

Wits: Chansa, Mngomezulu, Morton, Mdluli, Tshabangu, Batabaire, Mahlangu (Radebe 104’), Myeni, Rodrigues (Haskins 74’), Bantam (Zamaio 106’), Vilakazi,