UCT were able to scrape a draw after a late Michael Salgado goal against University of Limpopo saw the points shared at the Green Mile in Cape Town 1-1.
New boys to the competition, the University of Limpopo came agonizingly close to claiming a first every victory in Varsity football, only for UCT to convert some late pressure into a draw.
Michael Salgado canceled out Tsietsi Tshehla second half goal to save their blushes in the 91st minute.
It was always going to be a game of unknown quantities, last year’s wooden spoon holders up against the boys from the North, but one thing was for sure, Limpopo look a threat regardless of the draw.
It was a strong start by the home team with the powerful No.10 Simangaliso Makalima playing in Salgado to get the first, early, shot of the game, it was a decent attempt but the Limpopo keeper was up to it.
Limpopo absorbed the early pressure from UCT and gave it back just as well – a free kick just outside the box almost saw Given Manoko get his name onto the score sheet with a well flighted lob – but the UCT keep was on hand to deal with the free kick.
Limpopo’s midfield looked really polished with Harold Ndhlovu and Manoko controlling things with ease, however when UCT’s Makalima and Salgado got the ball up front they looked very threatening indeed.
UCT’s first corner coincided with them really pressuring the Limpopo box for an extended period – Khotso Nare had a perfect chance to grab the first goal but the scramble defense by Limpopo just managed to keep it out as they threw their bodies on the line.
UCT began to look more settled as shots started to come thick and fast for the boys from the Cape, Thansanqa Malusi firing one just wide of the diving Limpopo keeper’s post.
Momentum contained to ebb and flow as Limpopo’s midfield got more involved, the UCT defence was resolute as the visitors strikers looked a little starved of ball.
As the half wore on Limpopo was finally able to get some heat onto UCT’s goal, but it was the keeper who looked to dominate proceedings by bossing his own box, a great save from a free keep and great reflexes from the resulting play kept the game scoreless.
Against the run of play it was Ndhlovu who came agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock for Limpopo after taking a brilliant long ball from Austin Dube, however, it was the UCT keeper, Bevan Adonis again who came to the rescue.
At the half time break it was still scoreless with UCT wasting plenty of opportunities off good crosses from out wide.
As the second half began UCT came out looking a little different – a change of kit at the break to make matters clearer.
Limpopo showed some dominance straight after the break which forced a yellow card on Malusi of UCT for coming into a challenge with a little too much vigor.
They continued with their dominance through Ndhlovu who fired a shot just wide of Adonis’ goal.
As the second half began to wear on it was clear that Limpopo were the ones in charge, however, when UCT did get a chance their countering looked dangerous.
Salgado continued to be a menace for UCT, his attacking down the wing was a real blind spot for the Limpopo defense.
Salgado’s run managed to get UCT into the right half of the field for an extended period – it even allowed for Louis-Romain Moussi Sopp to have a crack at goal… but it sailed wide.
With more than an hour gone in the game and the score still at 0-0 it was UCT who looked to be finding their feet again, a great shot by Bryer after another well worked Salgado cross was well held by the Limpopo keeper.
Finally, the deadlock was broken and Limpopo got themselves their first ever goal in Varsity Football. Tsietsi Tshehla made a telling run into the box to get onto the end of a perfect cross, the UCT defense got caught napping and Tshehla was able to calmly slot it past Adonis.
UCT looked to get some ascendancy back after a brilliant Bryer’s free kick, Salgado does well to header the ball into the path of Sopp who fired a rocket towards the posts, it hit the inside of the post and rode across the line – all of the UCT players went up, begging the referee to award the goal but play is simply waved on – the need for goal-line technology is evident.
With 10 minutes to go UCT threw all that they could forward looking for an equalizer but it lead to some trouble with their star striker Makalima needing the stretcher to be brought on.
Incredibly, UCT were able to snatch a late goal in extra time, Salgado, who had looked threatening all night, drawing UCT equal with less than three minutes to go.
In the end, UCT probably deserved the goal – but at the same time, Limpopo also deserved a win.
FNB man of the match: Bevan Adonis
Samsung Super Striker: Michael Salgado
For UCT: Michael Salgado
For Limpopo: Tsietsi Tshehla
UCT: 5 Gregory Bryer, 6 Byron Donaldson, 8 Khotso Nare, 9 Louis-Romain Moussi Sopp, 10 Simangaliso Makalima, 11 Michael Salgado, 14 Jody Brown, 15 Matthew Jackson, 16 Charlie Mbatha, 18 David Frankel, 20 Sepolo Taaso.
Substitutes: 1 Bevan Adonis, 3 Nkululeko Pitoyi, 4 Dylan Fine, 7 Jeffrey Tikolo, 17 Cody Williams, 19 Thansanqa Malusi, 21 Jonathan Melamdowitz
Limpopo: 16 Harold Ndhlovu, 2 Ivan Tleane, 6 Edgar Mafunisa, 24 Austin Dube, 13 Pholoshi Bapela, 20 Samuel Mathabathe, 5 Matsobane Kgantago, 19 Cyril Ndhlovu, 11 Junior Mokgotho, 17 Nelson Ndhima, 7 Given Manoko.
Substitutes: 1 Jonathan Gole, 10 Vuledzani Chikhala, 3 Rodgers Moletla, 8 Lenslot Makgopa, 22 Kgotlelelo Kgoete, 9 Theo Phophi, 15 Tsietsi Tshehla.