Referee gifts Students a lucky draw

Thami Nqolobe

Thami Nqolobe

Referee Robert Sithole should be hauled before a disciplinary committee for allowing the controversial late goal that sealed a point for Bidvest Wits against Santos in an Absa Premiership game at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Friday evening.

The home side, who were all over The Students, took the lead in the 31st minute through their central defender Mogogi Gabonamong, who converted a corner kick from Graham King.

Santos gave The Students a tough time, forcing them to defend, especially in the second half and with the strong wind behind them.

But a minute before Sithole blew the final whistle Wits' Fabricio Rodrigues put in a high cross that Santos keeper Francis Chansa went to claim, challenged by Wits' Dale Studzinski, who pushed him.

Chansa lost the ball, which fell to Marawaan Bantam, who scored to level matters.

The Santos bench stared in disbelief as Sithole blew his whistle, pointing to the centre circle to signal a goal.

Even his assistant, who was close to the incident, kept his flag down while the visiting players celebrated Bantam's equaliser.

"I could not believe it when the referee allowed the goal to stand. It was not a goal and I am very angry with the referee and his assistant who should have punished Wits and booked the player for pushing my keeper," warned David Bright, coach of Santos.

"But my players told me in the dressing room that they are ready for any team," said Bright.

His counterpart at Wits, Roger de Sa, told Sowetan that though his charges were under pressure most of the time, he was relieved that they managed to grab a point against Santos in their back yard.

"Everybody knows the weather here in Cape Town is not kind to visiting teams but I am happy with the results tonight.

"Santos gave us tough times but we did not allow them to increase the lead because they would have killed us," said a beaming De Sa.