Full Time: Bidvest Wits 1-0 Orlando Pirates
Date: 16 March 2016
Venue: Bidvest Stadium
A first half goal from James Keene handed Bidvest Wits a slender 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership match at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.
The result, combined with Mamelodi Sundowns’ loss to Bloemfontein Celtic also on Wednesday night, sees the Students close the gap on the league leaders to four points.
Wits now have 48 points, four behind Sundowns while Pirates are in sixth place with 32 points.
The home side started positively and created the first chance on goal in the fifth minute when a good one-two saw James Keene play Ben Motshwari into space, but he fired inches wide from 16-yards out.
Six minutes later Elias Pelembe drove into the Pirates box from the left, but his 14-yard shot from an acute angle was well-saved by Brighton Mhlongo.
Pirates threatened for the first time in the 23rd minute when a swift counter-attack saw Tendai Ndoro play Luvuyo Memela through on goal, but his ten-yard effort struck the post.
Six minutes later Wits took the lead when Keene turned home a low right-wing cross from Thulani Hlatshwayo at close range, 1-0.
Pirates tried to find their way back into the game before the break, but were unable to do so and went into the change room trailing by a goal.
The second half saw the Buccaneers controlling the ball possession, but they struggled to break down a well-organised Wits defence.
Memela came close to finding the equaliser in the 63rd minute when he met a free-kick cross from Mpho Makola, but his ten-yard header was superbly saved by Moeneeb Josephs.
Two minutes later Josephs was at his best yet again with a finger-tip save to turn a powerful long range shot from Makola around the post.
Wits offered very little in terms of attack in the second half and instead opted to park the bus in defence – a risky strategy, but one that worked as they managed to hold on for the win under immense pressure from the Pirates attack.
Here's how they lined up:
Bidvest Wits: Josephs, Allie, Hlatshwayo, Klate (Khumalo 92’), Pelembe, Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Shongwe (Nhlapo 75’), Keene (Botes 87’), Motshwari, Ntshangase.
Pirates: Mhlongo, Gcaba, Gyimah, Jele, Matlaba, Sarr, Makola, Qalinge (Majoro 86’), Memela (Rakhale 74’), Myeni (Motupa 62’), Ndoro.