Bidvest Wits’ hopes of progressing further in the Total CAF Confederation Cup are hanging by a thread after being held to a goalless draw by Egyptian side, Smouha at the Bidvest Stadium in the 2nd 1/16th round first leg clash on Saturday.
Being the away side, Smouha’s cautious approach to at least salvage a point away from home to work in coach Moamen Soliman’s favour after they frustrated the ‘Clever Boys’ throughout the match.
Bidvest coach, Gavin Hunt also did not make things easier for his side after starting with only four regular players with the rest of the team still trying to earn their place in the squad.
With the away side being happy to sit back and park the bus against a second-string Bidvest team, the match proved to be a disappointment for the fans who were looking forward to a tantalizing game of African football.
It was the Egyptians who looked more convincing from the onset as Bidvest struggled to keep possession of the ball. While having most of the possession, the visitors could not do much to trouble the Bidvest keeper who had a quiet first half besides having to come off his line to clear off a good one-on-one opportunity in the 38th minute.
A real chance for the home side to grab the lead came at the half-hour mark when Elias Pelembe’s free kick found the head of Gabadinho Mhango whose effort went just over the crossbar to the relief of the visitors.
With the match deadlocked at 0-0 at the break, a more attack minded approach was adopted by both sides in the second stanza. Bidvest goal minder, Moaneeb Josephs was called to action in the opening minutes of the second half with a close effort but was well on guard to keep the scoresheet clean.
Both teams seemed to not find their rhythm throughout the match with most build ups either ending with poor finishing or wrong decision making in the box.
The ‘Clever Boys’ tried pushing for the important goal with youngster, Phakamani Mahlambi almost finding the back of the net in the 80th minute with a stinging effort that was well saved by the keeper.
Smouha head coach, Moamen Soliman who has a wealth of CAF Champions League experience with Egyptian giants Zamalek, whom he guided to the final last year, was comfortable with having his side absorb the pressure with the hope of wrap it up at the return leg in Alexandria.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)