Wits mow down Downs

Katlego Mphela netted two times for the Brazilians. It was a stunning victory for the Students, who were 1-0 down at half-time. The Absa Premiership clash was played at Johannesburg’s Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Both teams were testing each other strengths during the opening minutes of the game until the Brazilians’ Esrom Nyandoro set up Elias Pelembe on the right in the seventh minute. The Mozambican crossed the ball into the box, finding Katlego Mphela. The Bafana striker neatly headed the ball in goal, although Mphela was helped by some weak goalkeeping of Wits’ Darren Keet. Anyway, it was 1-0 to Sundowns.

The goal was followed by the Brazilians dominating play, creating chances for Kurt Lentjies and, especially, Matthew Patteson who somehow failed to score with the Students goalkeeper already beaten. However, Wits slowly recovered form the shock of conceding an early goal on home ground and started the regroup.

Sundowns coach Hristo Stoitchkov replaced right-back Siboniso Gaxa at the break with Vuyo Mere. However, Mere had barely touched the ball before Wits had equalised. Myeni’s well directed free kick from the left wing was neatly finished by Haskins a minute after the break.

But the Students were probably still celebrating when Mphela scored to make it 2-1 two minutes later with no defender in sight. Wits coach Roger de Sa was, rightly so, furious with his side’s sloppy way of conceding a goal at that stage of the game.

De Sa tried to change his team’s fortunes by bringing on the Brazilian midfielder Fabricio Rodrigues for Sifiso Vilikazi, who enjoyed a fine first half but seemed to have ran out of the steam in the second. The Wits coach must obviously have thought that bringing on a Brazilian against the Brazilians could change his side’s fortunes. And how it did!

Wits’ Kadi thought he had scored in the 71st minute with his head, but referee Daniel Bennett ruled that the striker had used his hand, correctly so. However, Sundowns’ luck didn’t last long as defender Mashamaite set the Bidvest fans in jubilation by scoring two goals in the space of two minutes, both with his head.

But the party wasn’t finished as yet, as Wits’ Rodrigues had something ‘Brazilian’ in stock. Rodrigues smashed a free kick from about 35 metres past Sundowns goalkeeper Calvin Marlin, who probably only heard the ball flying past into the net. It was a marvellous finale to a highly entertaining Absa Premiership match.