11 February 2018 12:45
Reigning South African champions, Bidvest Wits, recovered from a midweek setback to secure a 2-0 win over Mauritian side, Pamplemousses in the first leg of the preliminary round on Saturday in Johannesburg.
Young sensation, Kabomelo Kodisang fired his side into the lead in the 23rd minute before lanky target man, Eleazer Rodgers sealed the victory for Gavin Hunt’s men who are looking at making a mark in Africa’s biggest club competition with the second eight minutes before the break.
As expected, the hosts threw everything at the visiting side in search of an early goal to get the nerves settled. In-form winger, Thabang Monare pin-pointed a brilliant run from Vincent Pule on the far post who failed to direct his header in the match’s first attempt at goal in the eighth minute.
Minutes later, Pule redeemed his early miss with a brilliant run that concluded with a clinical cross that landed at the feet of Rodgers, who sent his effort straight at the keeper. Again, it was Pule giving the Islanders a torrid afternoon, this time combining well with Monare before hitting the woodwork in the 20th minute to the relief of the visitors.
Very few chances were created by the visitors who couldn’t break the solid defence of the Bidvest and opted to go for the long route option which made things easy for Bidvest keeper, Kyle Peters.
Wits were eventually rewarded for their continuous hard work when Kodisang headed home from close range following a good build up involving Monare and Pule in the 23rd minute.
With Wits getting the morale boosting lead, Pamplemousses still chose to park the bus, allowing the South Africans to mount even more pressure which resulted in Rodgers finding the second with a neat finish from a well threaded ball from Pule in the 37th minute to put the game to bed.
Rodgers could have grabbed his brace just a few minutes later following a cross from former Kaizer Chiefs defender Keagan Ritchie but his header went agonizingly over the bar.
With a first leg victory well in sight for the homers, Gavin Hunt made few changes in the second half bringing on Lehlohonolo Majoro who almost registered his name onto the scoresheet but his close-range header went straight at the keeper.
Bidvest travel to Belle Vue in two week’s time for the return leg with a 2-0 victory which they know should have been an even bigger margin had they not squandered most of the opportunities.
Elsewhere in the Total CAF Confederation Cup, Cape Town City, grinded a 1-0 away victory over Swaziland’s Young Buffaloes in Mbabane thanks to a solitary goal from Ghanaian Nana Akosa-Bempah.