Graham King handed Santos a 1-0 victory over Bidvest Wits at the Bidvest Stadium in a Telkom Knockout round of 16 tie in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon.
It was however Wits who dominated the game but were unable to turn their dominance into goals. Goal scoring opportunities were at a premium for Santos, but King did well to convert one of the few chances they did have and in the end his 69th minute strike proved to be the difference between the teams.
Wits went straight at Santos and were not going to give them the chance to sit back and absorb the pressure. Sifiso Vilakazi forced Tshepo Motsoeneng into making an early save with a shot along the ground from the left corner of the Santos 18-yard area.
Stanton Fredericks sent a free kick from the left towards goal where Tefu Masahmaite managed to get behind Wayne Arendse. With the goal gaping he headed the ball wide in the 17th minute.
On a rare foray upfield, Zairon Van Beulen was able to play Erwin Isaacs free into space down the right. Isaacs got into the Wits penalty box and squared the ball across the face of goal. King came sliding in but could not make any contact with the ball and this 19th minute chance bounced away.
Just past the half hour mark the hosts were on the attack again. Motsoeneng first stopped Sifiso Vilakazi in a one-on-one situation, but Wits won the ball back and attacked down the right – a telling cross was sent back towards goal where Vilakazi got to the ball but ran it onto the right hand post.
On the stroke of halftime Phikolethu Spelman headed the ball into the path of Jurie Basie, who smashed the ball on the ball from the edge of the Wits 18-yard area – the ball took a slight deflection and went out for a goal kick.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes, Wits were at it early on in the second half. Michael Morton played a delicate lob over the Santos defence which sent Sifiso Myeni through on goal. With just Motsoeneng to beat, he could not hold his composure and dragged the ball wide of the target.
In the 68th minute Myeni gently rolled the ball into the path of Sifiso Vilakazi, who hit the ball from around 18 yards from goal with significant power and had Motsoeneng flying off the ground to spectacularly push the ball over the bar.
Soon thereafter Motsoeneng sent the ball long as Santos restarted the game. His place kick was flicked on towards the left side of the Wits 18-yard area where King came sliding in and hit the ball under the body of the despairing Darren Keet to give Santos the lead in the 69th minute, very much against the run of play.
King was at the heart of another Santos attack six minutes later. It was his cross from the right which Baise managed to head on target – it took a one handed push from a diving Keet to put the ball out for a corner.
In the final minute Chapman was unable to connect with a cross from the right. Motsoeneng failed to cut out the pass and it fell invitingly to the Wits substitute at the far post but all he could do was side foot the ball wide.
Wits leave the Telkom Knockout for this season while Santos can look forward to playing in the quarterfinals.
–Story by Backpaqgepix