UP-Tuks claimed the inaugural Varsity Football title with a comfortable 4-1 victory over NMMU in front of their home crowd in Pretoria.
Two goals in each half were was enough for the home side to secure victory, handing the Eastern Cape side their first defeat of the season in the process.
NMMU made a promising start to the game, getting the ball forward early and testing out the Tuks defence.
The home side were happy to sit back, absorb the pressure and then hit the Madibaz on the counter-attack, as they did to great effect in their semifinal against NWU.
Tuks won a few corners which tested NMMU’s defensive organisation, but the visitors were equal to the challenge and cleared their line easily.
Both teams had opportunities in the air in the opening 15 minutes, but neither was able to find the target as it remained goalless.
NMMU’s Lyndsay Jennings was the first goalkeeper to be tested as Nicholas Killas turned neatly and got a low shot away, but Jennings got down quickly and had it covered.
However, the pressure finally told when big defender Lawrence Ntswane got on the end of a good cross from Mosa Sesele to open the scoring.
The Madibaz had a great chance to hit back when a great ball from Cloudius Sagandira found Lukhanyo Rasmeni at the top of the box, but his shot trickled wide.
Instead it was the hosts that scored next, when Claudio Barreiro made it 2-0 by tucking the ball away after a goal-mouth scramble from a free-kick.
That put Tuks in complete control at the half-time break, whilst the Madibaz were left with it all to do in the second half.
The visitors came out of the changerooms with real purpose and threw everything at Tuks, but it was not long before the home side found their feet again, with captain Kabelo Ramongane pulling the strings.
However, NMMU refused to lie down and their strikers Cloudius Sagandira and Leroy van Rensburg managed to make a nuisance of themselves despite being closely marked by the Tuks defence.
Despite the pressure from the Madibaz, Tuks were able to stretch their lead even further when Mbongeni Masilela finished off a flowing counter-attack to make it 3-0.
NMMU almost opened their account when replacement Kieran Koert unfurled a curling shot, but Tuks goalkeeper Tristyn Coetsee produced a fine save to keep it out of the top right corner.
The Madibaz finally opened their account when Bradley Peterson beat Coetsee to make it 3-1, but it was too little too late and Tuks would have the final say when Masilela rifled home his second on the stroke of full-time.
For UP-Tuks: Lawrence Ntswane, Claudio Barreiro, Mbongeni Masilela 2
For NMMU: Bradley Peterson
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, 7 Luke Steyl
NMMU: 16 Lyndsay Jennings, 20 Lundi Balfour, 13 Vuyolwethu Marele, 22 Niven Kops, 19 Lukhanyo Sompondo, 6 Kurt Duff, 17 Onneetse Leboifo, 8 Lukhanyo Rasmeni, 10 Cloudius Sagandira, 7 Leroy van Rensburg, 9 Alexander Owusu.
Reserves: 1 Enver Vogel, 25 Bradley Peterson, 21 Zukisani Mtendeni, 12 Onela Beqezi, 11 Kieran Koert, 4 Peter Thekisho, 3 Andile Mtyingizane.