Jabulani Shongwe scored for the second game in succession as a 10-man Bidvest Wits side held on to beat Absa Premiership title rivals SuperSport United 1-0 at Bidvest Stadium in
Henrico Botes saw red for the Clever Boys just before the break, but they have done enough to move top of the log standings with four wins from five matches.
The game got off to a cagey start with the opening few minutes marred by mistimed tackles, with the first shot in anger falling to Papy Faty in the ninth minute.
His volley had Ronwen Williams on his toes, but lucky for the SuperSport glovesman the ball was always drifting wide.
The Clever Boys looked the more dangerous with Elias Pelembe and Daine Klate causing SuperSport problems down the wing and Henrico Botes keeping the Matsatsantsa defenders busy.
Klate had a chance to score against his former employers in the 19th minute, but the wide-man slipped at the point of contact.
Thulani Hlatshwayo, back from injury, then saw his tame header from a Pelembe corner-kick easily gathered by Williams after the half-hour mark, but the hosts wouldn’t have to wait much longer for the opener.
Shongwe has been in blistering form of late – so much so that Sibusiso Vilakazi has had to settle for a place on the bench and the midfielder showed just why Gavin Hunt is giving him the nod of late, with a calm finish in the 41st minute.
The Bafana Bafana midfielder picked up the loose ball, coolly rounded the flailing Bongani Khumalo before sticking the ball in the back of the net.
Having seen his side take the lead, Hunt would’ve urged his troops to see out the rest of the half unscathed, but his wish was not Botes’s command as the Namibian saw red in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.
In a way, playing with 10 men suited the hosts, with Hunt pushing his players back and giving them the freedom to hit SuperSport on the counter.
This tactic almost paid dividends as Phumlani Ntshangase saw his shot on 62 minutes fly just over. Shongwe, brimming with confidence, teed up his fellow midfielder whose shot cleared the crossbar by mere centimetres.
Thuso Phala saw his shot blaze over Moeneeb Josephs’s goal in the 71st minute, but still with their man disadvantage Bidvest Wits were creating the better chances.
Spurred on by the cries of ‘Beast’, second-half substitute Joaquim Lupeta – who is a burly Portuguese forward signed by the club in the off-season – shook off his marker before seeing his thunderous left-footed shot from way out fly straight at Williams with eight minutes remaining.
Ntshangase came even closer with his free-kick from an acute angle in the 88th minute cannoning off the outside of the post.
In the end Wits were good value for their win while SuperSport sunk to their second straight defeat.
Bidvest Wits (1) 1 (Shongwe 41′)
SuperSport United 0
Bidvest Wits: Josephs, Allie, Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Bhasera, Klate (Gome 90′), Pelembe (Lecki 69′), Ntshangase, Shongwe (Lupeta 68′), Faty, Botes
SuperSport United: Williams; Boxall (Grobler 66′), Daniels, B.Khumalo, Farmer, Mkhabela, Morton (Mathebula 46′), Phala, Cernak (Nkhatha 53′), Wome, Brockie