Wits edge Pirates to go top

An own goal from Orlando Pirates' goalkeeper Felipe Ovono ensured Bidvest Wits walked away with the full three points following their 1-0 Absa Premiership victory at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Wednesday night.

Ovono handed the visitors an early goal when he misjudged Daine Klate’s set-piece and spilled the ball into his own net, thus allowing nine-man Wits to emerge victorious.

Following the win, the Braamfontein-based side climb up to top position on the Absa Premiership standings with 16 points, while the hosts are placed in 11th spot with five points.

The game was packed with drama as three red cards were issued by referee Victor Gomes which saw Calvin Kadi, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Lehlohonolo Masalesa all sent for early showers on the night.

The opening few minutes were full of pace from the visitors as they spent much of their time in the Buccaneers’ half and as early as the ninth minute they were awarded a penalty when Sifiso Myeni fouled Phakamani Mahlambi, but Felipe Ovono saved Henrico Botes’s penalty.

However, in the 12th minute the Sea Robbers were a bit disjointed in the middle of the park with the Students taking control of the proceedings and keeping Ovono busy.

After three minutes of play, Ovono spilled the ball, allowing the visitors to grab an early lead following a great set piece by Daine Klate down the right flank.

Eric Tinkler’s men tried to calm down and knock the ball around, but it was the visitors who stopped all their moves and in the 32nd minute Wits were dealt a huge blow when Hlatshwayo was red carded for a dangerous foul on Myeni.

Exactly in the 45th minute, a quiet Thabo Rakhale unleashed a powerful shot in an aim to find an equaliser before half time, but his shot sailed over the posts.

The Students went to the tunnel enjoying a lead.

In the second stanza, the Sea Robbers were all over the Clever Boys, but their decision making in the final third couldn’t produce the results.

With just four minutes into the second half, Thabo Matlaba made his trademark moves into the box, however, his effort sailed over the bar.

In the 74th minute Wits were reduced to nine men when Calvin Kadi was shown a straight red card for a two-footed tackle on Ayanda Gcaba.

In the 81st minute the game saw its third red card when referee Victor Gomez handed Lehlogonolo Masalesa his second booking of the game to reduce Pirates to ten men.

Although it was evident that the Bucs bench was frustrated, their entries into the box failed to yield a goal as Gavin Hunt’s men proved to be solid at the back, managing to successfully hold on to their slender lead.

Orlando Pirates: (0) 0
Bidvest Wits: (1) 1(Ovono '15 og)

Pirates: Ovono, Sangweni, Gcaba, Nyauza, Matlaba, Masalesa, Ntshumayelo (Mugerwa 60’), Rakhale, Myeni (Makola 37’), Masuku (Erasmus 50’), Gabuza

Wits: Josephs, Allie, Hlatshwayo, Klate (Kadi 66’), Mkhwanazi, Faty, Botes, Shongwe (Gome 53’), Bhasera, Mahlambi, Motshwari (Ntshangase 57’)