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Wits through to TKO last four

Bidvest Wits advanced to the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout when they beat Maritzburg United 2-1 at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.

The Clever Boys started well, when Scottish striker Simon Murray should’ve opened the scoring in the fifth minute after latching on to a poor pass from Siyanda Xulu, but Murray put his effort wide of the target.

Maritzburg started to find their feet as the game progressed, Fortune Makaringe carving out the hosts best chance in the 25th minute after a mazey run found him in space. He shot from distance but was unable to steer his effort at goal.

The home side looked to bully their way into the ascendancy, forcing Gavin Hunt to make two quick injury-related substitutions in the 26th and 28th minutes. Thabang Monare and Terrence Dzvukamanja were replaced by Keegan Ritchie and Elias Pelembe.

Wits found the opener with just eight minutes of the first half remaining after a shot from range by Haashim Domingo was deflected into the net by Nazeer Allie.

Hunt’s men made the half-time talk easier for coach Hunt when Buhle Mkhwanazi headed home the visitors second goal in stoppage time of the first half to hand the Braamfontein outfit a two goal advantage at the break.

United came out with intent in the opening exchanges of the second half, but were met with a resolute Bidvest Wits defence.

Yannick Zakri came close to opening the scoring for the hosts on the hour mark, his rifle half-volley drawing a good save out of Darren Keet.

Justice Figuaredo gave the home side a glimmer of hope when he swept home a cross that beat an out-stretched Keet from just inside the area.

The Team of Choice continued to push as the clock ran down, to try to force extra time, but ultimately Wits were able to hang on and secure progression to the semi’s of the Telkom Knockout 2018, that one step closer to defending their title.