A late own goal from NWU defender Lebogang Phetlhu saw UP-Tuks secure a dramatic 1-0 victory and secure their place in the Varsity Football Final.
The victory was Tuks’ fourth consecutive win against NWU, with the 1-0 scoreline an exact replica of the result when the two sides met in Mafikeng last week.
The game started at a frantic pace as both teams looked to grab the early ascendency, and it was NWU who produced the first opportunity on goal when a neat backheel from Thabo Mnyamane put Luthando Ntokwenzani in space but he pushed his effort wide.
The visitors continued the attacking onslaught as they searched for an early goal and Tuks goalkeeper Tristyn Coetsee was tested by a long range shot from Xola Mlambo but managed to tip it over the bar.
NWU suffered a blow when their goalkeeper Tebogo Mosia had to receive medical attention after taking a knock to the head, but he recovered and was able to continue.
The home side had a great opportunity to draw first blood when Mosia found himself stranded off his line, but Nii-Ordartey Mills saw his volley hit the post and go wide.
However, it was NWU who were enjoying the majority of possession, and they came close to scoring once again thanks to a defensive mix-up from Tuks, but Ntokwenzani saw the ball go agonisingly wide again.
Mnyamane forced another good save from Coetsee as the visitors continued to press forward, whilst Tuks were happy to sit back and wait for counter-attacking opportunities.
It looked to have paid off when they got in behind the NWU defence, but they could not find the net as captain Kabelo Ramongane’s shot was blocked.
Tuks continued to apply the pressure and created a few more chances before NWU responded through Sandile Mbatha who drew another fine save from Coetsee.
Despite a full ten minutes of extra time due to a few lengthy injury breaks, neither side could break the deadlock and they went into half-time all square at 0-0.
NWU made a determined start to the second half as they looked to take the Tuks defenders on, but they could not find the opening that they needed as the home side held firm.
Tuks got as many players as possible behind the ball and flew into their challenges, racking up a number of yellow cards in the process.
The tension increased as full-time got closer, before Tuks striker Mbongeni Masilela made a good run which saw NWU defender Phetlhu turn the ball into his own net.
FNB man of the match: Tristyn Coetsee
The scorer: Lebogang Phetlhu (Own goal)
UP-Tuks: 26 Tristyn Coetsee, 6 Kabelo Ramongane, 12 Kenneth Matlala, 9 Mbongeni Masilela, 5 Lawrence Ntswane, 3 Claudio Barreiro, 13 Sphelele Khuzwayo, 15 Jarryd van den Berg, 10 Moeketsi Modiba, 22 Dean Wilkinson, 4 Mosa Sesele.
Reserves: 16 Sipho Masemola, 1 Nicholas Stothard, 11 Richard Moremi, 18 Nicholas Killas, 19 Charles Gulwako, 8 Nii-Ordartey Mills, 23 John-Ross Kganane, 14 Keegan Boulle.
NWU: 98 Tebogo Mosia, 7 Sipho Mateis, 5 Kyle Amon, 24 Lebogang Phetlhu, 3 Kenneth Bodibe, 17 Sandile Mbatha, 6 Luthando Ntokwenzani, 4 Xola Mlambo, 20 Sylvester Moses, 10 Thabo Mnyamane, 9 Abednigo Rantese.
Reserves: 16 Calvin Ntshudisane, 23 Tshenolo Machwisa, 21 Junior Leeuw, 13 Zakhele Mashiyi, 15 Matsobane
Matsi, 8 Shane April, 14 Ryan van der Westhuizen.