On a slightly warmer evening than many would have been used to in Johannesburg, Wits hosted UWC at a vibrant Bidvest Stadium. The hosts were coming off a 3-2 win at UKZN, whilst the visitors suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of NWU in the first round of fixtures.
The Witsies were also yet to beat UWC in the tournament, since its inception, with UWC getting two victories over the home team, one in a semi-final penalty shootout and a 6-0 victory last season in the Western Cape. In this year’s encounter however, Wits finally broke the duck and clinched a nail biting 1-0 at the death thanks to the boot of Waylan Rooi.
The game itself was a really cagey affair in the opening few moments, with both teams exchanging position with no real clear opportunities being created. Wits did however eventually get a bit of a grip on the game, with their midfield duo of Mahle Mtabane and Saluleko Mathonsi orchestrating the attacks. The visitors would however also get a few opportunities of their own before the break but it wasn’t to be, as both teams went into the interval at 0-0.
The second half promised some great action in the opening stanza, but things ended in just ‘ohhhh’s and ahhh’s’ from the home crowd. The visitors did try get the lead but the Wits defence always managed to scramble the ball out their half, and look to create great counter-attacking opportunities.
UWC shot stopper Renaldo Leaner had a great game keeping his side in the game with a few fantastic saves and commanding his defence very well. Wits suffered a setback, when Baliwe Moyakhe had to come off the pitch injured. But this seemed to spur the hosts on and they completely dominated the last few moments in the game, with small man Waylan Rooi adding the cherry on top, with a goal from close range at the death, to give Wits a nail-biting 1-0 victory and make it two from of two.
FNB Player of the Match: Emmanuel Sebareme (UWC)
Samsung Moment of Brilliance: Waylan Rooi (Wits)
Debonairs Real Deal Save: Renaldo Leaner (UWC)
Goals: Waylan Rooi
Wits: Matthew Wade Carelse, Tshireletso George Motsogi, Ndzalama Bradley Mongwe, Mahlolo Clinton Mphahlele, Stokeley Speelman, Saluleko Mathonsi, Kal Laing, Lerotholi Manala, Waylan Rooi, Mahle Mtabane, Bokang Tlali
Substitutes: Daniel Meyer, shenolo Maimane, Sandile Edwin Mbatha, Thapelo Letsoalo, Keamogestwe Mokalake, Baliwe Gerald Moyakhe, Jordan Kelly Reece Green
UWC: Renaldo Paul Leaner, Aghmat Ridhaa Ceres, Tylo Dylan Miller, ay-Dee Giovanni Adams, Tristan Hanslo, Simphiwe Mqandu, Emmanuel Sebareme, Leandro De Sousa, Clinton Herwel, Xolisa Makubalo
Substitutes: Phiwokuhle B. Mphalala, Akhona Cawe, Jayden Wade Petersen, Thapelo Masopha, Charlton Fritz, Lyle Tyrell Hardenberg, Stefan Francis Stuurman, Ryan Marc Ramandh
By S’fiso Nyawo