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Clever Boys March On

Wits University became the first team to reach the semi-final stage of the R2 million Coca-Cola Cup when they beat Jomo Cosmos 1-0 at the Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.

The game was played in warm evening conditions in front of a good crowd which included national coach Shakes Mashaba, PSL CEO Trevor Philips and former Kaizer Chiefs legend Shane MacGregor.

The first chance of the game fell to the home team in the sixth minute when they came agonisingly close to opening the score.

Alois Bunjira was set free down the left hand flank and whipped in a good cross onto the head of his Zimbabwean compatriot, Stewart Murisa, whose powerful header rattled the Cosmos crossbar.

Wits continued to press and dominated the possession and played most of the game in their opponents half in the opening 15 minutes.

The Students thought their pressure had paid dividends when Thierry Mouyama turned in a Charles Yohane corner in the 22nd minute, only for the referee to blow for no apparent reason.

Home keeper Wayne Roberts was called into the action for the first time in the 25th minute when Tico Tico Bucuane rose well to meet a Teboho Mokoena cross, but Roberts did well to palm the effort over the bar.

The game became a bit scrappy in the last portion of the first half with Cosmos struggling to string their passes together, while Wits were guilty of not capitalising on the few half chances which came their way.

Cosmos were, however, unlucky to have a penalty appeal turned down right on the stroke of half-time when a Wits defender seemed to handle the ball inside his own box.

The first chance of the second half again fell to the Clever Boys when Tsietsi Mahoa supplied a quality cross from the left which nearly found Paul Johnson, but the Cosmos defence did well to clear the danger.

Chances were few and far between in the early stages and Wits coach Roger da Sa decided to bring on striker Gareth Devine in the place of Stewart Murisa in order to gain some more impetus up front.

Bucuane created a good chance for himself in the 63rd minute when he found space on the left hand flank before cutting inside the Wits box, but the Mozambiquan's parting shot with the left foot left a lot to be desired.

Both teams were resorting to long range shots, but not many of them troubled the goalkeepers.

The deadlock was then finally broken by the Students in the 70th minute. Gert Schalwayk took a speculative shot from outside the box which deflected off an Ezenkhosi player's foot before falling into the path of Devine, who used the outside of his boot to steer the ball past keeper Avril Phali.

Cosmos tried in vain to find an equaliser, but it was not to be on the night and the Clever Boys marched into the semi-finals.

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