Wits seal third place, Baroka not safe
A 10-man Bidvest Wits sealed their possible third-placed finish and participation in the Confederation of African Football's Confederation Cup next season when they defeated Baroka FC 3-1 at the Bidvest Stadium yesterday in the penultimate round of Premier Soccer League matches.
The defeat could not have come at a worse time for Baroka, who needed three points to avoid going into their last match (at home) against fellow relegation strugglers Maritzburg United next Saturday still needing victory to ensure they avoid relegation or promotion playoffs against two National First Division sides.
With 28 points Limpopo outfit Baroka are not safe from straight relegation as bottom- placed Maritzburg can still reach 29 points if they win against them in Polokwane on Saturday and other results in matches involving Free State Stars, Black Leopards and Chippa United go against them.
Clever Boys striker Lehlohonolo Majoro scrambled in the opening goal of this match in the 32nd minute when he broke Baroka's offside trap to beat keeper Elvis Chipezeze and defender Vusi Sibiya before poking the ball home.
Midfielder Cole Alexander doubled the home side's lead nine minutes after the restart, beating Chipezeze with a low shot after finding himself with plenty of space inside the box to pick his spot before Tshediso Patjie halved the score with 23 minutes remaining.
Defender Robyn Johannes ensured Wits victory when he slotted home from the spot after Sibiya pulled Terrence Dzukamanja in the box in front of referee Abongile Tom.
The victory was a rare second in succession for Wits at their home venue where they gave away many important points, collecting only 23 instead of 45 that were on offer in 15 matches.
Former AmaZulu, Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates marksman Majoro was to be sacrificed for substitute goalkeeper Darren Keet on the stroke of halftime when young goalkeeper Ricardo Goos was shown a red card by Tom for a reckless challenge on Baroka skipper Mduduzi Mdantshane who he brought down on the edge of the area.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt came to this match still fuming after their 1-1 drawn game against SuperSport United last week when a legitimate goal was disallowed by referee Phelelani Ndaba, who has since been suspended for three months by the South African Football Association.
That result put paid to the Clever Boys chances of challenging Orlando Pirates and reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns for the league title, leaving them with faint hopes of seeing the duo losing their last two matches while they win theirs. Sundowns were not involved in PSL action as they played Wydad Casablanca in the Caf Champions League yesterday.