BIDVEST Wits and Black Leopards played to a dreary goalless draw in their Absa Premiership match at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.
The result may extend the Clever Boys’ lengthy winless streak (they haven’t won a league match in 2012) but it has secured them top flight football for next season – they are now mathematically certain of finishing above the bottom two places.
The same cannot be said for Lidoda Duvha, though this draw does take them two points clear of second-from-bottom Santos and they will be confident of retaining their place above the danger zone in their two remaining fixtures.
The opening stages of the match saw little in the way of goal mouth action, with both teams struggling to create anything more than mere half chances. Wits looked more comfortable on the ball and they got their attacking players more involved in passing movements than their opponents.
The first real threat on either goal arrived in the 20th minute when Bhongolwethu Jayiya burst into the penalty area and attempted a curler into the top corner, but the ball flashed wide of the goalkeeper’s left-hand post.
That opportunity signalled a sustained spell of pressure from the home side, but they were unable to really test goalkeeper Azwindini Maphaha. Leopards only threatened sporadically, with their best attempt a long range drive from Davie Banda on the half hour mark that swerved wide of the target.
Wits’ Emille Baron took two knocks from late challenges by Kingston Nkhatha (which earned the striker a yellow card) in the dying minutes of the first half, the second of which seemed to injure the goalkeeper’s left ankle. He was replaced at the start of the second half by Energy Murambadoro.
Six minutes after the restart Jayiya forced Maphaha into his first genuine save of the match, with the ‘keeper stretching to punch away a goal-bound free kick from the young Wits attacker. It was the first notable effort on target from either team.
Around the hour mark Leopards built up a head of steam and on 63 minutes they tested the substitute goalkeeper with an effort from the edge of the box by Joshua Obaje – Murambadoro proved to be equal to the shot, making a decent save low to his left.
The best chance of the night saw Nkhatha shoot on target from the ‘D’ of the Wits penalty area with just a few minutes of regulation time left, but again Murambadoro denied the Limpopo side with a fine save.
Bidvest Wits 0
Black Leopards 0
Wits: Baron (Murambadoro 46’); Mngomezulu, Batabaire, Phillips, Phungwayo, Pule, Masalesa, Jayiya, Sib. Vilakazi, Tshabangu (Langwe 65’), Ritson
Leopards: Maphaha; Dzaga, Khoza, Mabusela, Xakane, Ramagalela, Banda, Duiker, Mapolisa (Taaibos 70’), Monama (Obaje 50’), Nkhatha.-Backpagepix