Ronwen Williams proved to be the saviour as SuperSport United held on for a dramatic draw against Bidvest Wits
SupeSport United, depleted and down to nine men, were able to hang on for a 1 – 1 draw against Bidvest Wits at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Bidvest Wits were a team in-form going into the clash in Attteridgeville after beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-2 in the Telkom Knockout.
SuperSport United were hit by a spate of injuries and suspensions before the game, with the likes of Sibusiso Zuma and Mabhuti Khenyeza missing out. They had to play a largely makeshift side which meant many players were starting in unfamiliar positions.
After six draws in a row SuperSport needed a win against Wits but two red cards in the second half meant the task was insurmountable.
Franklin Cale unleashed a thunderbolt in the 55th minute and the emphatic strike put SuperSport into the lead. This did not last long as Wits were able to respond when Calvin Kadi scored from close range in the 75th.
The Clever Boys were denied the victory by the brilliant Ronwen Williams, who saved a penalty as well as numerous other important saves.
SuperSport’s makeshift defensive line started nervously, almost giving Faty Papy a chance in the 7th minute, when a careless back pass was intercepted by the winger, who tried to chip Ronwen Williams, but the keeper held on to the effort and looked disgusted with his defenders.
Wits lost their experienced captain Aaron Mokoena to injury in the 9th minute and had to face early SuperSport United possession and pressure.
SuperSport first real opportunity came when Thabiso Nkoana collected an ingenious pass from Moffat Mdluli, who chipped the ball over Wit’s defensive line, giving Nkoana an excellent chance to score, but he scuffed his right-footed strike.
SuperSport had dominated the first half in terms of possession and chances as Wits had not really grown accustomed to the pace of the game and looked the shadow of the side which had defeated Kaizer Chiefs only a week before.
But Calvin Kadi had an excellent chance to change Bidvest Wits first half performance in the dying moments of the first stanza, but Ronwen Williams was on hand once again with a brave and essential save.
SuperSport started the second half confidently and looked to create more pressure on the Clever Boy’s defence.
But the game suddenly shifted into Wits favour when SuperSport was reduced to ten men in the 50th minute. Mor Diouf picked up his second yellow card of the match after a high boot.
However, this did not deter SuperSport as Franklin Cale blasted in an unstoppable free-kick in the 55th, his strike directed straight at Steven Hoffman. Hoffman tried to tip the ball over his net but the power of the strike made this task impossible for the goalkeeper.
Wits began to pile the pressure on 10-man SuperSport and looked to have scored the equaliser in the 67th minute when Calvin Kadi placed a header into the net, but he was deemed to have been offside by the assistant referee.
Kadi was not denied by anyone in the 72nd minute as Matthew Pattinson sent in a swerving corner kick which was headed into the path of the striker.
He was able to get a slight touch onto the ball which trickled into the net. Wits were on level terms and looking to go for the win.
A second red card for SuperSport resulted in a penalty for Wits in the 75th minute, as goal scorer Franklin Cale was sent off after he committed a handball offence in his own box.
Wits seemed destined to take the lead but Ronwen Williams proved to be their nemesis once again as he not only saved the penalty strike by Calvin Kadi but two minutes later pulled off another acrobatic save.
SuperSport remains unbeaten this season and will be buoyed by their fighting qualities during the encounter. Wits were left disheartened as they were unable to take advantage of SuperSports two red cards.