Bidvest Wits have been crowned the Nedbank Cup champions after beating AmaZulu 3-0 at the newly-revamped Soccer City Stadium on Saturday.
Michael Morton played a sterling role from midfield. But first it was midfielder Mark Haskins who came close to opening the scoring in the eighth minute when his header from a cross was parried away to safety by Nick Gindre, who used his legs to great effect.
Haskins was back in the thick of things in the 18th minute. Marawaan Bantam set him free in between Usuthu’s defenders and with Gindre to beat Haskins tried a lob, which worked out poorly as his left flick didn’t have power behind it and AmaZulu survived.
Usuthu players were constantly making fouls and as a result three players – Abdullahi Ishaka, Ayanda Dlamini and Pere Ariweriyai – went into the referee’s books.
AmaZulu played route-one football in the first half hoping to seal it from thrown-ins and corners, but it never worked out.
The Students continued their dominance in the second half, though Bantam had to come off in the 50th minute as he struggled with an injury on his right leg. His place was taken by Brazilian midfielder Fabricio Rodrigues, who later on in the game made a big impact. In the 76th minute Rodrigues put Wits 1-0 up.
Sipho Mngomezulu burst forward from the left and chipped the ball into the area. Gindre and his defence failed to clear and Rodrigues pounced for an easy tap-in.
Sensing defeat, AmaZulu coach Neil Tovey immediately threw caution to the wind when he took off Dumisani Ngwenya bringing on Sandile Gumede, who scored the last-minute equaliser against Mamelodi Sundowns in the semis, and three minutes later Bradley Ritson came on for Nhlanhla Zwane, but this time there was no late drama from Usuthu.
In fact, it was the Students that stole the show right at the death. Sifiso Vilakazi, who was a shadow of himself for most of the game suddenly came alive.
In time added on he was left unmarked and when a pass picked him up, he burst forward and smashed a left-footed powerful shot that beat Gindre to his left.
A minute later Sifiso Myeni stretched the Usuthu defence from the left and played a well-executed pass to Vilakazi in between Usuthu’s centre backs. The former Free State Stars and Ajax Cape Town striker rounded-off Gindre and fired home the third to send the 71 956 official attendance into a frenzy.
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