James Keene sinks 10-man Kaizer Chiefs as Bidvest Wits claim final spot
James Keene scored the only goal of the game as Bidvest Wits claimed a 1-0 win over the 10 men of Kaizer Chiefs in a pulsating Telkom Knockout semi final at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.
Chiefs had Wiseman Meyiwa deservedly sent off for a stamp midway through the first half and shortly afterwards fell behind to Keene's headed goal.
The visitors led a spirited fightback in the second period and were denied an equaliser on a number of occasions, but in the end the barren trophy run of the team continues as they now will go two and a half years without a trophy.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt earns a place in his first Telkom Knockout final as he awaits the winner of the second semi final between Polokwane City and Bloemfontein Celtic to be played on Sunday.
Egyptian forward Amr Gamal had an early chance for Wits when he brilliantly worked space for himself in the box, but chose to shoot from a tight angle when he might have crossed for a teammate. Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune beat the ball away from a corner.
Chiefs were battling to get out of their own half, but Bernard Parker's excellent flick set Philani Zulu free, only for the 25-year-old to rush his shot from 25 yards, firing wide.
Wits thought they should have had a penalty when Gamal looked to be clipped in the box as he turned to shoot, but referee Victor Gomes waved away their protests and then offered a warning to home coach Gavin Hunt over his protestations.
Mathoho then had an excellent chance from a free kick when Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet misjudged the cross and the centre-back was presented with the chance to head home, but put his effort over the crossbar.
The game then turned midway through the first half after a moment of madness from Meyiwa.
Willard Katsande and clattered into Daine Klate in the centre of the park and with the Wits winger still on the ground, Meyiwa inexplicably trampled on him twice.
Gomes had no choice but to send him off, while Katsande also received a yellow card for the original foul.
Within two minutes, Wits were ahead as Reeve Frosler's long ball into the box was headed across goal by Buhle Mkhwanazi, leaving an unmarked Keene with the simplest of headers wide of Khune in what was a double blow for the visitors.
Frosler wasted a good chance when his left-footed shot went high and wide, while shortly afterwards Chiefs' George Maluleka spotted Keet off his line, but his shot from 50 yards was high.
Had it been on target, Keet would have had no chance of getting the ball.
Chiefs introduced the Venezuelan striker Gustavo Paez in the second half and his incisive runs and pace started causing the Wits backline plenty of problems.
Paez beat the offside trap and had a three-on-one as Siphiwe Tshabalala and Parker lurked, but he took too long to cross and in the end, his effort was blocked with both unmarked in the box.
The South American then found himself one-on-one with Keet, but put the ball wide, his blushes eased by the fact that the assistant referee's flag was up for offside and it would not have counted.
Katsande almost brought the visitors level as he glanced a header goalwards from Maluleka's excellent free kick, but home defender Sifiso Hlanti blocked the ball with Keet seemingly beaten.
Substitute Dumisani Zuma then had the next chance for Chiefs as they dominated the player having been released on goal by Tshabalala.
However, Keet rushed off his line to thwart the AmaKhosi player in the one-on-one situation.
Zuma had the final chance for the visitors too when Keet's poor punch reached him on the edge of the box and he lobbed the ball towards an empty net, before Frosler headed clear off the line.