PSL : Hlatshwayo’s brace seals win for Wits
A brace by defender and skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo gave Bidvest Wits a 2-1 win over University of Pretoria in their Absa Premiership encounter at Bidvest Wits Stadium on Friday night.
The victory means the hosts reached the 39 points tally mark at No 2 and narrow the gap to six points behind log leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns, who have 45 points.
As early as the the seventh minute, the Tshwane side went forward searching for an early goal and Khethukuthula Zwane nearly beat Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, but his powerful shot hit the framework.
In an aim to respond and dictate terms, the hosts moved forward and Elias Pelembe delivered a good cross but Phakamani Mahlambi’s header went off the mark.
After 17 minutes of action, Bongani Nyathi saw his well struck shot parried away by Josephs.
Thereafter, Gavin Hunt’s men enjoyed ball possession but were unable to break down Shaun Bartlett’s defence.
In the 31st minute, Mahlambi played a good ball to set up James Keene in the middle of the park but the forward failed to keep his shot down and on target.
Following shouts by Bartlett on the side lines, Tuks played a great one touch to Partson Jaure but the Zimbabwean’s attempt went straight to Josephs.
However, it took the Braamfontein outfit 36 minutes to open the scores when skipper Hlatshwayo headed home Daine Klate’s cross from the right flank – Tyson beat Tristyn Coetsee with a powerful header.
With five minutes to the interval, the hosts received a penalty after Keene was brought down by Willem Nwedihanga in the box.
However, Klate was denied by Coetsee who produced a wonderful save to deny the experienced winger and kept his side in the game.
It was 1-0 at the interval in favour of the hosts and man of the match, Hlatshwayo nearly made it two when he connected with Klate’s set piece but the defender’s header went wide.
Towards the hour mark into the contest, Hlatshwayo was unmarked once again in the box as his close range header went straight to the well-placed Coetsee
In the 62nd minute Thabo Mnyamane made it 1-1 when he beat Josephs with a fine left-footed finish following good work by Atusaye Nyondo down the right flank.
Hunt introduced Jabulani Shongwe in the 65th minute and his combination with Pelembe nearly paid dividends seconds later with the latter becoming a menace for the Tuks defence, but it took Coetsee’s fine save to deny the Mozambican winger as his shot was saved for a corner.
With six minutes remaining, ‘Tyson’ had a great night and was on the receiving end of a corner but his third free header failed to hit the target.
Nevertheless, in the 87th minute the former Ajax Cape Town defender rose head and shoulders above the Tuks defence and beat Coetsee with a powerful header to make it 2-1 for the hosts.
Although Tuks tried to break Wits’ defence, their efforts were not good enough as Wits walked away with the full three points.
In the wake of the loss, Bartletts’ men remain at the bottom of the table with 13 points at position 15.
Bidvest Wits: (1) 2 (Hlatshwayo 36′, 87′)
University of Pretoria: (0) 1 (Mnyamane 62′)
Bidvest Wits: Josephs, Hlatshwayo, Klate, Pelembe, Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Nhlapho, Mahlambi (Botes 79′), Keene (Vilakazi 64′), Motshwari, Ntshangase (Shongwe 65′)
University of Pretoria: Coetsee, Mwedihanga, Mthethwa, Sibande, Jaure, Maruping, Chikohwa (Mathosi 82′), Nyathi, (Ngubane 76′) Zwane (Bacela 63′) , Mnyamane, Nyondo