Wits cruise past bottom club Baroka to go top
Bidvest Wits' remorseless 5-0 win over Baroka FC made sure they will go into Saturday's clash against Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the Premier Soccer League log.
A brace from centreback Buhle Mkhwanazi and a lone Daine Klate effort with late contribution from Phakamani Mahlambi and Ejike Uzoenyi condemned the game Limpopo basement dwellers to a ninth league defeat while Wits won their 10 match.
They haven't dropped a game since their 3-2 home defeat to fellow title chasers Cape Town City on December 2.
Their relentless pursuit of their maiden league title will be examined by Pitso Mosimane's side but they have the side to challenge them.
It will also be their first real test of the year after some unexpectedly easy wins against Orlando Pirates (2-1) and Ajax Cape Town (5-0).
Through 31 and 36 minute goals from Mkhwanazi and Klate, Wits took the game by the scruff of the neck after the visitors refused to yield to their attacking demands.
The scrappy nature of the goals was indicative of how Wits adopted a Machiavellian nature in terms of winning the game.
Mkhwanazi dived at a defender's feet to connect with Thulani Hlatshwayo's lay-off from a Klate aerial ball.
Klate's quality finish belied the hard work put in by Elias Pelembe to shake off Phineas Ravhuvhali's attentions, even though the Mozambican international roasted the left-back.
It was a rare show of accuracy in execution because those were the two clear-cut chances the hosts had in the first 45.
While Mkhwanazi and S'Fiso Hlanti had chances denied by the resolute defence and Avhashoni Tshinuna, Baroka made Wits sweat for their rewards on the chilly night.
If Baroka were incisive enough, they should have taken the lead in the 24 minute but Nyasha Munetsi was too slow to react to a Caswell Chauke long range shot that bounced of a Wits defender.
It was the only time Wits keeper Darren Keet was exposed to any sort of danger as Mkhwanazi and Hlatshwayo were on top of their game.
Jose Garcia's 49 minute introduction breathed life into the visitors and the midfielder had two chances that remotely made Keet have heart palpitations.
Even though Wits were firmly in control of proceedings, Baroka showed admirable tactical discipline to hold Gavin Hunt's side for large swathes of the game
Such was Hunt's juggling of his resources, he started with Phakamani Mahlambi on the bench and introduced him in the 70 minute.
Three minutes later, Wits had their third goal when Mkhwanazi's low header met Thabang Monare's cross from the right flank.
These three players were missing from last Saturday's 3-1 win against Saint-Louisienne in their CAF Champions League date.
Hunt started his strongest side and will need them to be fully functional for their date with the African champions.
Mahlambi should have added a fourth in the 76 minute when the pint-sized forward somehow rose over the defence but headed the ball wide.
New recruit Uzoenyi added the fourth in the 85 minute to increase Wits' already healthy goal difference while Mahlambi made up for his miss with the fifth goal on the stroke of fulltime.
- TMG Digital
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