There was no separating the NMMU Madibaz and NWU as the opening Varsity Football clash of 2014 ended in a 2-2 draw in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Madibaz striker Kieran Koert was named Samsung Super Striker for his two volleyed goals in the first half, but the visitors scored a goal in each half to claim a single log point against the Eastern Cape side who were unbeaten at home last year.
It was a hard-fought battle from the outset, as NWU looked to stamp their authority early on by taking the game to the hosts and camping in opposition territory.
The solid Madibaz defence held up well, and it was the home side that created the first meaningful opportunity on goal as a clever cross was repelled by NWU goalkeeper Amogelang Maduo.
The visitors drew first blood when a grass-cutter from Sandile Mbatha beat NMMU goalkeeper Lyndsay Jennings to open the scoring and give NWU a 1-0 lead after 30 minutes of action.
The home side struck back straight away, with Kieran Koert smashing a volley home to level the scores at 1-1 after the NWU defence had failed to clear the ball from the back.
It was not long before they had the lead as Koert made it two screaming volleys in quick succession, collecting the ball at the top of the box and giving the goalkeeper no chance with a clinical finish on the turn.
That gave them a 2-1 lead at half-time, with three quality goals in the opening 45 minutes getting the tournament off to a truly explosive start.
NWU had to make the running in the second half and pushed forward at every opportunity, but NMMU continued to cause issues from set-pieces and Tshenolo Machwisa was eventually shown a yellow card for pushing at a defensive corner.
NMMU had a great opportunity to extend their lead as Koert timed his run into the box well to meet a quality cross, but his header went wide.
NWU were determined to get back to level terms and pushed hard for the equaliser, testing the Madibaz defence with a few flowing passing movements.
They finally got their reward from a corner, with Sifiso Ngwenya getting his head to the ball and finding the back of the net to draw the game level at 2-2.
The final stages were frantic as both teams searched for a late winner but it was not to be as they ended deadlocked at 2-2.
FNB man of the match: Kurt Duff
Samsung Super Striker: Kieran Koert
For NMMU: Kieran Koert 2
For NWU: Sandile Mbatha, Sifiso Ngwenya
NMMU: 24 Lyndsay Jennings, 3 Warren Kops, 5 Athini Bisha, 16 Lundi Balfour, 12 Onela Beqezi, 11 Kieran Koert, 6 Kurt Duff, 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, 14 Simamkele Thobi, 21 Kevin Kevido, 19 Motlhabi Karabo.
NWU: 1 Amogelang Maduo, 7 Sipho Mateis, 2 Lebogang Phetlhu (captain), 5 Kyle Amon, 20 Tseko Weevirs, 21 Lebogang Motshegare, 6 Sandile Mbatha, 15 Matsobane Matsi, 17 Letlhogonolo Mirwa, 10 Orebotse Mongae, 9 Tshenolo Machwisa.
Substitutes: 18 Thapelo Tlabakwe, 11 Lindani Dudula, 13 Thatohatsi Santos, 12 Mogomotsi Molefe, 25 Goitseone Naane, 3 Sifiso Ngwenya, 16 Calvin Ntshudisang.
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