Wits crowned Telkom Knockout champions with win over Celtic
Bidvest Wits were crowned the 2017 Telkom Knockout champions after they narrowly beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.
Wits‚ who are a struggling at the bottom of the Absa Premiership table‚ secured this morale boosting victory through an innovative and stupendous back-heel by substitute attacker Vincent Pule in the 90th minute.
The match appeared to be headed for extra-time but Egyptian import Ahmed Gamal Amr twisted and turned inside the box to beat Celtic defender Tshepo Rikhotso before laying the ball to Pule who bamboozled Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb with the back heel.
Though Pule provided the moment of magic at the death‚ this match failed to live up to expectations and it will go down as one of the most boring finals in the PSL era as the two teams did not produce enough memorable moments.
One of the few notable chances of the first half came in the 24th minute for Wits but poor anticipation by attackers Daylon Claasen and Gamal in the box saw them fail to punish the Celtic defence.
Gabadinho Mhango‚ who was named the man-of-the-match found himself with space on the left wing from where he delivered a good and low cross into the box but his effort was fumbled by Tignyemb to Claasen.
Unmarked Claasen was beaten by the speed of the ball on the far post as he only managed to fumble the ball towards Gamal who failed to react in time and allowed Celtic defence to clear the danger.
Just before half time‚ Celtic striker Ndumiso Mabena forced a save from Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet with a low shot from close range after his defence failed to deal with a corner kick as they went to the break without a goal.
Celtic could have taken the lead just after the hour mark but Victor Letsoalo watched in disbelief as his well-taken header rebounded off the cross-bar with Keet beaten after he received a long pass from Lucky Baloyi.
At this time‚ Phunya Sele Sele enjoyed good attacking momentum and in the 65th minute Mabena wasted another inviting opportunity when his header flew over Keet’s cross-bar.
Gamal forced a brilliant diving save from Tignyemb with a well-taken right footed shot from just outside the penalty box in the 77th minute as Wits began to push for a goal.
They got the goal in the last minute of the match in style as Pule produced the moment of brilliance that was worthy of winning a cup final.