Baroka FC have booked their place in the 2018 Telkom Knockout final following a 1-0 win over Bidvest Wits at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday afternoon.
The Limpopo side will now face Orlando Pirates at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth next month, in what will be their first TKO final as they set their sights on a first top-flight title.
Matome Mabeba scored the only goal of the game with eight minutes on the clock, his early strike proved to be enough to knockout the defending TKO champions.
The Bakgaga utility player powered an unstoppable left-footed free-kick through the Clever Boys’ wall and past an outstretched Darren Keet for the only goal of the game, after Buhle Mkhwanazi was adjudged to have handled the ball just outside the area.
Bidvest Wits almost hit straight back seconds later through Cole Alexander, but Elvis Chipezeze was alert to the danger.
The game continued to ebb and flow with Baroka posing a notable threat on the counter-attack and Keet had to be at his best to keep out Tebogo Sodi’s effort from an acute angle in the 36th minute.
Haashim Domingo almost pulled the visitors level on the cusp of halftime, but he was unlucky to see his curling effort inches wide of goal as Baroka carried a narrow lead into the interval.
Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt introduced former Baroka attacker Gift Motupa following the break and he should’ve made it 1-1 in the 54th minute, but having lost his marker he could succeed in blasting his attempt over the crossbar from closer range.
Bakgaga then squandered a chance to double their lead through captain Mduduzi Mdantsane in the 75th minute. Ranga Chivaviro did all the spade work before teeing the ball up on a silver platter for Mdantsane, who somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
The Clever Boys threw everything and the kitchen sink forward in attack in the closing stages of the clash with Lehlohonolo Nonyane guiding his attempt over Chipezeze’s goal when it looked easier to score three minutes later.
Simon Murray then missed a glorious chance for the visitors in the 81st minute. The Scottish striker looked sure to score, but could only succeed in powering his header wide of goal.
Baroka hit the woodwork through Chivaviro with the final kick of the game on a day where there should’ve been more than one goal, but it mattered little in terms of the result as the Limpopo side continue their fairytale run in the competition.
Baroka FC (1) 1 (Mabeba 8′)
Bidvest Wits (0)
Baroka FC: Chipezeze; Semenya, Sibiya, Makume, Gebhardt, Mdantsane, Sodi (Kgoetyane 82′), Mosele, Mabeba, Chawaphiwa (Madubanya 82′), Dickens (Chivaviro 66′).
Bidvest Wits: Keet; Mere, Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Nonyane, Monare (Hlanti 70′), Alexander, Domingo, Hotto (Motupa 46′), Dzvukamanja, Macuphu (Murray 68′).