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Razor sharp Arrows stun limping Wits

By Marc Strydom, at Bidvest Stadium | 2017-09-13 21:28:38.0

It is not pretty for league champions when, in an already a difficult start to their season, they are bossed for much of a game at home by a team with only a percentage of their resources.

Bidvest Wits have been patchy suffering from their 2016-17 Absa Premiership triumph hangover, and slipped to another home defeat in 2017-18, 3-1 against the compact organisation and strong running of Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Lerato Lamola put the KwaZulu-Natal visitors into the lead in the 33rd minute before Amr Gamal equalised for Wits in the 38th. Zolani Nkombelo stunned Wits again in the 55th. Substitute Nduduzo Sibiya rubbed salt into a roastie with a fine third in the 90th.

The last game between these teams at this ground, a season-opening MTN8 quarterfinal, was played at such an unbelievable pace that it all went a little haywire - four goals, five red cards and a come-from behind penalty shootout won by Wits.

The first half of Wednesday's match-up was played at no less speed, though with a lid on the insanity.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt, trying to resolve a troublesome central defence that has been the source of his champions' patchy start, switched to a 3-5-2 system.

Phumlani Ntshangase came in as one of the three centrebacks alongside Thulani Hlatshwayo and Slavko Damjanovic. Reeve Frosler and Bokang Tlhone were the wingbacks.

But Wits still looked clanky. They could not control the midfield and press Arrows back.

Whatever the formations were, the two teams simply went at each other.

Arrows' dangerous frontline and their fast, penetrative, hard running troubled Wits' new-look defence.

Just after the half-hour tricky wing Siphelele Magubane left Ntshangase spread on the turf down the left and squared low for an unmarked Lamola to finish at the far post.

Wits kept plugging away in the other direction. Gabadinho Mhango squeezed a shot through a crowded area that forced Arrows' athletic racehorse of a goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede down to a fine save.

From the clearance the ball was worked back into the area via Daylon Claasen's low skidding pass to Gamal, who stabbed in at the left upright for the Egyptian's first PSL goal.

It took 10 minutes from the restart for Arrows to breach Wits again. Winning the ball in midfield fullback Nkombelo was played down the left, advanced with pace, and shot powerfully with his left past Moeneeb Josephs.

Seconds from the restart Gamal fed Claasen into the area on the right, whose shot was across the face of goal.

Substitute Nazeer Allie's high cross fell to Gamal alone inside the six-yard box, whose volley was skied.

From Claasen's cross another replacement, Eleazar Rodgers, cold not get the power on his free header to beat Gumede.

But Arrows were in irrepressible mood. With Wits pushing up, a fine counterattack ended with substitute Sibiya's sublime chip over Moeneeb Josephs.

Ben Motswari volleying onto the post from an open goal in injury time summed up the night for Wits.

- SowetanLIVE

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