UKZN have got themselves on the Varsity Football 2019 points table after holding UFS to a 0-0 stalemate in Bloemfontein.
Both sides began the game in lively fashion, but it was the visitors who provided the initial scares.
Within the first five minutes, Mvelo Madonsela rattled the cross bar to shake up the home support. Barely ten seconds later, Siphesihle Sokhela replicated the feat with his own effort.
The hosts responded when a well-measured cross-field pass from Angelo Arendse which was met by Obarate Saila’s equally impressive first touch, only for the latter to be fouled metres from the box. The resultant freekick proved fruitless.
A badly weighted backpass nearly brought trouble to the home side, but shot-stopper Nelson Chauke dribbled the ball to safety.
The half was notable for its wing attack, particularly through UKZN’s Khumbulani Mbokazi and UFS’s Saila.
Obakeng Seekoei, however, stood out through his pinpoint long passes from the centre of defence. Just before the interval, Seekoei nearly put the home side ahead, but his header went over the bar.
UKZN captain Lungani Nhlengethwa’s wide freekick ensured that the sides went to half time all square.
UKZN came into the second half with increased vigour, charting most of their attacks through Mthobisi Mathaba, whose tame overhead kick flattered to deceive.
On the other side, UFS came close multiple times, most notably when marksman Dylan O’Brien met Arendse’s through ball, but O’Brien could not convert.
Saila continued to trouble the visitors on the right flank, while Mbokazi struck the upright. The ball then fell to O’Brien, whose pass to Arendse culminated in a banana kick which left his boot on the turf.
With the final whistle on the horizon, Siphelele Ngwenya found himself unmarked with the duty of tapping the ball into the net, but his shot was inches wide.
Thembinkosi Gwala then provided inch-perfect passes for O’Brien and Saila, but both failed to convert as the match ended in a stalemate.
UFS (0) 0
UKZN (0) 0
FNB Player of the Match: Thobani Maseko (UKZN)
Debonairs Pizza Real Deal Save of the Match: Nelson Chauke (UFS)
MTN Pulse Moment of Brilliance: Obarate Saila (UFS)
UFS: 27. Nelson Chauke (GK), 23. Makhaola Mohale, 24. Obakeng Seekoei, 15. Gauta Mokati (capt), 3. Thapelo Madrati, 6. Angelo Arendse, 4. Siphelele Ngwenya, 11. Thembinkosi Gwala, 16. Lindokuhle Khumalo, 25. Bradwell Gouws, 9. Dylan O’Brien.
Replacements: 28. Mafase Malomane (GK), 21. Duncan Mohale, 10. Thabo Lesibe, 12. Themba Msimanga, 8. Obarate Saila, 13. Nnyane Nkomo, 7. Lebogang Ngamlani.
UKZN: 1. Thandolwakhe Radebe (GK), 12. Bhekabambo Mkhize, 4. Lungani Nhlengethwa (capt), 16. Thobani Maseko, 25. Siphamandla Sosibo, 6. Mzwandile Mkhize, 13. Bheka Ncube, 11. Khumbulani Mbokazi, 28. Mthobisi Mathaba, 10. Philakahle Dlamini, 9. Bongumenzi Zulu.
Replacements: 20. Banele Kubeka (GK), 3. Siphesihle Sokhela, 17. Eugene Mkhize, 26. Lungisani Shange, 21. Siphelele Mbewana, 2. Thabiso Nhlengethwa, 18. Ziyanda Ndlovu, 27. Sizwe Cele.
By Sam Styrax