NMMU failed to turn on the magic that saw them reach last season’s final as they crashed to a 3-0 defeat to newcomers UJ at Bunting Road Campus Sports Complex in Johannesburg on Monday night.
The home team started strongly with some good possession, passing the ball around well as the UJ fans showed their strong support by singing and dancing in the stands.
UJ’s early pressure almost paid off when they got the first chance at goal, but the free-kick from just outside the penalty area went wide and posed no threat to the visitors.
Another attack on the Madibaz’ goal saw UJ striker Ruwell Jagger yellow-carded for simulation after he was deemed to be diving in the area.
The match turned fiery later in the first-half with both sides committing cynical fouls.
NMMU held their breath after playmaker Cloudius Sagandira was floored by a clash of heads in the UJ penalty area.
It was a false alarm though and the number 10 was up and running soon after.
UJ sent the boisterous home fans into rapture early in the second half when after ten minutes midfielder Ponshu Nyathi put them ahead after some good interplay in the middle of the park.
The home side seemed to be boosted by the goal and kept the pressure on their visitors with some exciting football as the second-half progressed.
They were rewarded again in the 22 minute when Nyathi found his way into the area again before beating Madibaz’ goalkeeper Lyndsay Jennings to make the score 2-0 to UJ.
NMMU seemed to lose pluck after the second goal and never looked like scoring again. UJ continued their onslaught and some brilliant defending from Ruben De Freitas kept the hosts in the lead.
Last year’s finalists then succumbed to a third in the 80th minute after some dreadful defending allowed striker Tebogo Mandyu to go on a mazy run before unleashing a low drive to make the score 3-0.
The score stayed 3-0 to the newcomers and the match ended after 93 minutes much to the delight of the home team, who will be pleased to record an upset over last season’s number two team.
FNB man of the match: Ponshu Nyathi
Samsung Super Striker: Ponshu Nyathi
For UJ: Nyathi 2, Mandyu
UJ: 1 Trent Harrison, 3 Wisdom Mathebula, 4 Grant Bruchhausen, 6 Lwazi Nogenga, 7 Lerato Tleane, 9 Ruwell Jagger, 11 Tebogo Mandyu, 13 Tshepo Tolo, 14 Ruben De Freitas, 15 Sandro Claro, 18 Ponshu Nyathi.
Substitutes: 2 Stuart Peverett, 2 Matthew Edwards, 8 Lumkile Dava, 19 Karl Clements, 12 Steven Sibanyoni, 16 Mfundo Mazibuko.
NMMU: 24 Lyndsay Jennings, 3 Warren Kops, 5 Athini Bisha, 16 Lundi Balfour, 12 Onela Beqezi, 11 Kieran Koert, 19 Motlhabi Karabo, 4 Zukisani Mtendeni, 15 Alexander Owusu, 8 Lukanyo Rasmeni, 10 Cloudius Sagandira.
Substitutes: 1 Matthew Booysen, 2 Lukanyo Stemele, 7 Cornelius Matuoane, 9 Lukhanyo Ndabeta, 22 Reginald Mabokane, 21 Kevin Kevido, 20 Litha Fingo.