Wits pulls clear of Pirates at PSL summit
Bidvest Wits go into the festive break with the sole lead in the Premiership after running out 2-0 victors over Chippa United at the Bidvest Stadium on Friday night.
Lehlohonolo Majoro opened the scoring from the spot just before the half-hour mark to put Gavin Hunt's side in command at the half-time interval and an exquisite free-kick Thabang Monare secured all three points.
The Clever Boys went three points clear of Orlando Pirates at the top of the table, with both teams having now played 15 games, which is the midway point of the season.
Bidvest Wits made a bright start and created two early chances as Chippa United struggled to contain them.
Thabang Monare's curler from the edge of the box on the right was deflected wide of the left post on five minutes, before a close-range volley from Majoro deflected into the gloves of Daniel Akpeyi in the seventh minute.
The hosts took the lead after winning a soft penalty on 28 minutes. Terrence Dzvukamanja went to ground under minimal contact from Zitha Macheke and the referee pointed to the spot.
Majoro's poor spot-kick was saved by Akpeyi, but the striker reacted quickest to score on the rebound.
Majoro threatened again on 39 minutes when he managed to turn Thabo Nthethe inside the box on the left and force Akpeyi into a routine save at his near post.
Buhle Mkhwanazi failed to keep his powerful header down at the back post from a corner in stoppage time as the Students headed into the break with a deserved lead.
Dzvukamanja should have doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute when he surged into the box from the middle, but his shot from 16 yards out flew over the crossbar.
Deon Hotto then went close four minutes later with a header at the back post that Akpeyi gathered at the second attempt, in what was a good double save.
However, there was nothing he could do to prevent Monare from scoring on 62 minutes. The midfielder curled a precise free-kick from just outside the area in off the bar to beat the keeper at his near post.
The visitors did manage to pose more problems in the second half and Darren Keet was finally called into action on 73 minutes as Rhulani Manzini hit a low free-kick straight at him from 25 yards out.
Wits quickly went up the other end and Hotto could only hit the side-netting from a narrow angle on the left after being played in by a ball over the top.
Joel Masutha's charges had two late chances to hit back, but Tebogo Tlolane volleyed wide of the right post from close range on 88 minutes after connecting with Daine Klate's cross from the left, before Keet had two bites at the cherry to deny Manzini from a few yards out moments later.
Dzvukamanja wasted a good opportunity to seal the win in stoppage time when he scuffed a first-time shot straight at Akpeyi from 17 yards out.