A second-half goal from Lucky Mathosi saw defending Varsity Football champions UP-Tuks secure a tough 1-0 win over a determined Kovsies side in Pretoria on Monday.
The win sees the 2013 winners to the top of the standings after the other three matches in the opening round of action ended in draws.
The match got off to a tense start with opportunities few and far between as the defenders had their way in the early stages.
UP-Tuks were relying on their physical forwards to get in behind the Kovsies defence from regular long balls, but their finishing let them down as they struggled to hit the target.
Kovsies had some chances of their own from a few set-pieces, but they were not able to force UP-Tuks goalkeeper Lebo Ngubeni to make a save as it remained goalless.
The hosts turned up the pressure as half-time approached and a sustained period of pressure forced a few fine saves from Kovsies goalkeeper Serasengoe Moodie as the teams remained locked at 0-0.
Kovsies created a few opportunities of their own, but they were let down by some poor finishing and got exposed on the counter-attack at times by the direct style of their hosts.
However, UP-Tuks could not find the decisive touch desipte threatening in the air regularly and the teams went into half-time level at 0-0.
The home side came out firing in the second half as they cranked up the pressure on Kovsies, and they were finally rewarded with a goal from Lucky Mathosi who buried a header into the net from a perfect cross from Richard Moremi.
Kovsies needed a response if they were to salvage anything from the match, which made for an exciting final 20 minutes as both side had opportunities to score.
There were chances at both ends in an exciting finish to the game, but UP-Tuks did enough to hold on and secure the win which sent them to the top of the standings after the opening round.
FNB Man of the Match: Mbongeni Masilela
Samsung Super Striker: Lucky Mathosi
For UP-Tuks: Lucky Mathosi
UP-Tuks: 32 Lebo Ngubeni, 13 Lindsay Stowman, 8 Nicholas Killas, 17 Irvin Tshabalala, 4 Lawrence Ntswane, 22 Dean Wilkinson, 14 Galane Tebogo, 15 Jarryd van den Berg, 20 Thabo Ndlovu, 5 Simbongile Njokwe, 23 Vuse-Umuze Khoza.
Substitutes: 1 Nicholoas Stothard, 12 Phutego Mabitsela, 10 Jeremiah Nkwana, 18 Lucky Mathosi, 9 Mbongeni Masilela, 7 Luke Steyl, 11 Richard Moremi.
UFS: 1 Serasengoe Moodie, 4 Marathodi Phillies, 13 Tsoeu Mphezulu, 19 Jarred Meyer, 20 Dumisani Tjomelane, 15 Themba Zimo, 12 Kakudi Moreleba, 11 Lehlohonolo Mokoena, 7 Walter Phori, 10 Simon Modupi, 9 Jay Jay Groenewald.
Substitutes: 24 Dylan O’Brien, 6 Manxubandile Bantshi, 23 Mongezi Mologovane, 3 Unathi Mabandla, 2 Khauhelo Kholotsa, 16 Lehlohonolo Thaele, 8 Christopher Makgoe.