Bidvest Wits win six-goal thriller

Sibusiso Vilakazi scored a hat-trick as Bidvest Wits defeated Ajax Cape Town 4-2 in a thrilling Absa Premiership match at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Vilakazi, who hadn’t scored in the league prior to the match, showed off his predatory instincts to help the Clever Boys overcome a resilient Urban Warriors team and move into second place on the log standings.

After a quiet opening, the match came to life on 11 minutes when Bidvest Wits claimed the lead. Vincent Pule provided a low cross from the left which was palmed away by goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola but rebounded off Mosa Lebusa and fell into the path of Sibusiso Vilakazi, who easily finished from close range for his first league goal of 2014/15.

The Clever Boys then suffered something of an injury blow when Cornelius Kwakman was withdrawn on 21 minutes due to a reported hamstring strain. Phumlani Ntshangase replaced the Dutchman.

Five minutes later Ajax created their only real chance of the first half as Cecil Lolo almost got in on goal on the overlap, but Moeneeb Josephs moved quickly off his line to deny the away side an equaliser.

Wits doubled their advantage two minutes before the end of regulation time in the first half. Ben Motshwari’s corner kick found the head of Thulani Hlatshwayo, whose powerful downward header beat Jaakkola to make it 2-0.

The Urban Warriors reduced the deficit to 2-1 through a brilliant solo goal from Nazeer Allie in the 63rd minute. The defender powered forward and struck home a long range shot via the underside of the crossbar for just his second goal in his 10 years as a professional with the Cape club.

However, the home side restored a two-goal advantage just eight minutes later. Substitute Jabu Shongwe’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Lebusa, but the loose ball fell kindly for an unmarked Vilakazi, who easily steered home a low shot for his second of the night.

Ajax responded by sending on Clifford Mulenga and Noah Sadaoui from the bench. The latter brought the score to 3-2 when he unconvincingly converted a penalty. The spot kick was a harshly-awarded one, with Franklin Cale’s shot hitting Hlatshwayo and rebounding onto the arm of Siyabonga Nhlapo.

Wits almost had an immediate response, but Shongwe was denied by a brilliant save from Jaakkola to keep Ajax in the hunt for an unlikely comeback. The Finnish ‘keeper made another great save to keep out a deflected shot from Vilakazi in the 88th minute, before Granwald Scott cleared off his own goal line.

On 89 minutes it was the turn of Josephs to make a fantastic save, diving full length to his left to palm away a snap shot from Sadaoui on the edge of the penalty area.

Wits wrapped up the points three minutes into injury time when Sthembiso Ngcobo put Vilakazi in on goal and the Bafana Bafana player dummied his way past Jaakkola before shooting into an empty net to bring up his hat-trick and make it 4-2.

Bidvest Wits (2) 4 (Vilakazi 11’ 71’ 90+3’, Hlatshwayo 43’)

Ajax Cape Town (0) 2 (Allie 63’, Sadaoui 83’ pen)

Wits: Josephs, Nhlapo, Kwakman (Ntshangase 21’), Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo, Pule, Zuke, Vilakazi, Motshwari, Botes (Ngcobo 80’), Katongo (Shongwe 66’)

Ajax: Jaakkola, Lolo, Allie, Mobara, Lebusa, Ncube (Mulenga 74’), Mzwakali (Ngalande 58’), Graham, Scott, Cale, Nkoana (Sadaoui 74’)