Wits beat Leopards to keep title hopes alive

Bidvest Wits beat a struggling Black Leopards side 3-1 at Bidvest Stadium in Braamfontein on Wednesday evening to keep their Absa Premiership hopes alive.

 

Goals from Simon Murray, Deon Hotto and Elias Pelembe guiding the Clever Boys to all three points and up to 47 for the season, six behind log leaders Orlando Pirates who have played a game more.

 

Defeat leaves Lidoda Duvha in 13th place on the log standings, two points above the relegation zone.

 

Leopards were handed an early chance to open the scoring in the 24th minute after Buhle Mkhwanazi brought down Ivan Mahangwahaya inside the area, but Mwape Musonda failed to convert the resulting penalty-kick.

 

The league’s top scorer was made to rue the miss four minutes later as Murray converted from the spot after he was brought down by King Ndlovu.

 

Hotto doubled the hosts lead seconds later, nodding home Thulani Hlatshwayo’s pin-point cross from close range.

The Namibian, though, turned villain soon after as he committed a reckless foul inside the area, leading to the third penalty of the half. Musonda – after some encouragement from his teammates – stepped up once more, this time firing home for his 14th goal of the season.

 

Marks Munyai rattled the woodwork in stoppage-time before Musonda failed to convert the rebound with the goal at his mercy as Wits held on for a narrow lead at the break.

Ndlovu pulled off a superb save to keep out Cole Alexander in a carbon copy of Hotto’s earlier goal in the 72nd minute, but the shot-stopper could do nothing a minute later as Elias Pelembe restored the hosts two-goal lead with a rasping left-footed finish.

Leopards, to their credit, never gave up the chase, but despite their efforts they couldn’t add to their tally for the night as they ultimately slumped to another defeat.

Bidvest Wits (2) 3 (Murray 28′ [P], Hotto 29′ Pelembe 73′)

Black Leopards (1) 1 (Musonda 38′ [P])

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