Bidvest Wits moved up to eighth position in the league standings after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over on-form Maritzburg United at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night.
After an early set-piece goal from Keegan Ritchie had put the home side ahead at the interval, Maritzburg briefly restored parity through substitute Mohau Mokate before Buhle Mkhwanazi grabbed an 84th-minute winner.
The game in Johannesburg got off to a high-tempo start, with neither side shy to get involved in the physical stuff.
Wits looked more of a threat and after Maritzburg keeper Richard Ofori had kept out a long-range effort from Elias Pelembe in the eighth minute, the home side took a 15th-minute lead when a brilliant free kick from Ritchie gave Ofori no chance.
The Students didn’t sit back on their advantage and Lehlohonolo Majoro twice missed the target with headed attempts before being denied by Ofori with a shot from a tight angle just after the half-hour mark.
Ofori was certainly earning his pay and the Ghana international came to the KZN side’s rescue with a brave point-blank save on James Keene seven minutes before the interval.
The visitors came out with more purpose after halftime, but despite having the Clever Boys on the back-foot, they were unable to test home keeper Darren Keet.
Having regained their footing as the game moved past the hour mark, Wits looked to be in control of proceedings and they almost doubled their lead in the 77th minute when Sifiso Hlanti crossed for Cole Alexander, but Ofori made yet another top-drawer save.
The save proved crucial as Maritzburg found the equaliser just a minute later when Mokate netted against the run of play.
But Wits seem to be a reinvigorated outfit these days and they came storming back when Mkhwanazi headed in a Pelembe corner six minutes before the end of regulation time to make it 2-1.
The defending champions were able to hang on for the victory, their sixth in a run of nine matches unbeaten in the league.
– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Herman Gibbs