The final round of the group phase of the Varsity Football tournament was played on Thursday evening, with Wits University hosting the Tshwane University of Technology at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg, as TUT won 4-2, with both teams securing semi-final spots.
With Wits already having confirmed their spot in the semi-final stage of the tournament, it was just a matter of securing a home semi-final for the hosts. TUT on the hand, had it all to do, with only a win securing them a passage through to the last four. The men from Pretoria did just that, thanks to a hatrick from Godfrey Mahlala and a goal late on from Emmanuel Mahlangu, that saw TUT win 4-2.
The first half started with the visitors looking threatening very early on, creating opportunities that Wits managed to clear. TUT’s persistence in attack did eventually pay off just after the 15th minute mark, when Godfrey Mahlala received a ball in-front of the Wits box, which he quickly trapped and released a thunderbolt to send his team into an early lead.
Wits did not take too long to get back in the game, with Baliwe Moyakhe silencing the away end, after he received a cross from the left hand side to calmly slide the ball past TUT shot stopper Sikhumbuzo Ncube for the equalizer. The game was then a very hot affair with both teams enjoying a fair share of opportunities, before Wits defender Kal Laing brought down a TUT player in the box, with the referee immediately pointing to the penalty spot. Godfrey Mahlala stepped up and sent Wits goalie Daniel Meyer the wrong way and TUT into a 2-1 lead going into the break.
The second half commenced with the Witsies leveling matters, courtesy of a well taken goal from the skipper Tshireletso Motsogi. Wits looked to grow in confidence after that, but TUT were always able to tame them. The visitors eventually took more control of the game after the 60th minute, looking dangerous every time they went forward. The goal did eventually come for TUT, with Mahlala producing yet another stunning shot that got him his hatrick and his team a 3-2 lead.
After conceding Wits hugged and puffed going in search of an equalizer but Emmanuel Mahlangu killed the home sides hopes of a comeback, when he pushed the ball beyond Meyer and make it 4-2 with just 2 minutes to go in the game. In the end TUT held onto secure a win and spot in the semi-final against their neighbours UP-Tuks, whilst Wits will make the short trip to Soweto, to play their rivals UJ. The loss is Wits’ first one at home this season, after previously winning 3 games and drawing 1.
FNB Player of the Match: Godfrey Mahlala (TUT)
Samsung Moment of Brilliance: Godfrey Mahlala (TUT)
Debonairs Real Deal Save: Daniel Meyer (Wits)
Goals: Baliwe Moyakhe, Tshireletso Motsogi
Goals: Godfrey Mahlala (3), Emmanuel Mahlangu
Wits: Daniel Meyer, Tshireletso George Motsogi (C), Ndzalama Bradley Mongwe, Mahlolo Clinton Mphahlele, Stokeley Speelman, Baliwe Moyakhe, Kal Laing, Lerotholi Manala, Waylan Rooi, Mahle Mtabane, Bokang Tlali
Substitutes: Matthew Carelse, shenolo Maimane, Sandile Edwin Mbatha, Thapelo Letsoalo, Keamogestwe Mokalake, Saluleko Mathonsi, Jordan Kelly Reece Green
TUT: Sikhumbuzo Ncube (GK), Elliot Seema, Vusi Sibiya, Tumelo Mphela, Rorisang Rapelang, Brian Tshoba, Godfrey Mahlala, Ogorositswe Tabane, Leboganga Phatlane, Siyamthanda Topi, Moses Lehlomela
Substitutes: Mpho Nhlapo, Paul Mnisi, Ofentse Tlholoe, Boipelo Molale, Jerry Ngobeni, Mbofholowo Mbulawa, Collen Vilakazi
By S’fiso Nyawo