UWC beat NWU 3-2 to edge ahead of the Mafikeng outfit, top the log, and secure a repeat in the semi-finals next week…
With one spot in the last four already taken by UP-Tuks in the afternoon fixture and the team they defeated, UFS, waiting on tenterhooks; the clash between UWC and NWU needed to live up to expectations.
The game started at a slow pace and gradually peaked, when both sides started to attack each other.
The home side were dealt with an injury blow, when Ntembeko Daweti had to be stretched off and was replaced by Baaitile Matebesi, the latter making his Varsity Football debut.
The first half was tightly contested and scoring chances were few. That said, with halftime looming and the crowd cheering in the ‘Operation Room’, Clinton Herwel rise at the back-post to head the home side into the lead.
The visitors came back from the dressing room looking like a different side as they pushed for a goal to bring them back into the game (as they at the stage were also out of semi-final reckoning), but Aidan Leak was not having it otherwise.
NWU were making themselves vulnerable and UDubs made them pay when Jaydan Petersen pounced on a great pass from Stefan Stuurman to make it 2-0.
At this stage, the game seemed done and dusted but Karabo Masehela’s boys had other ideas. First, left-back Kananelo Motsoeneng hit a cracker of a free kick that left Leak standing to make it 2-1. Incidentally, NWU and UFS were level on points, goal difference, goals scored and goals conceded and their head-to-head result was a 1-1 draw…
Nonetheless, UWC were in sixes and sevens and NWU duly capitalised by grabbing their second when Israel Matshane pickpocketed Matebese to make it 2-2 and ease the need for the competitions handbook.
The game looked like it was going to end in a stalemate but Leandro De Sousa decided otherwise when he scored, to make it 3-2 on the night.
A tense last five minutes ensued, for both sides, but the home team managed to hang on to the lead and they booked themselves the home semi-final they so coveted. The journey continues for Stanton Smith and his boys, as it does for NWU who’ll have a round-trip via Mafikeng over the next week.
UWC (1) 3 Clinton Herwel, Jaydan Petersen, Leandro De Sousa
NWU (0) 2 Kananelo Motsoeneng, Israel Matshane
FNB Player of the Match: Clinton Herwel (UWC)
Debonairs Pizza Real Deal Save of the Match: Aidan Leak (UWC)
MTN Pulse Moment of Brilliance: Leandro De Sousa (UWC)
UWC: 1. Aidan Leak (GK), 5. Clinton Herwel, 24. Abdel-Hakeem Mohamed, 6. Luke Vester (capt), 19. Ntembeko Daweti, 26. Sandile Mdluli, 15. Kyle Segers, 10. Stefan Stuurman, 21. Siphosethu Meveni, 17. Leandro De Sousa, 7. Jaydan Petersen.
Replacements: 27. Ryan Ramandh (GK), 4. Linamandla Mchilizeli, 11. Charlton Fritz, 13. Matthew Petersen, 18. Kyle Bentley, 20. Matebesi Baatile, 23. Bulelani Ngidi.
Coach: Stanton Smith
NWU: 28. Luzuko Jevuka (GK), 22. Lesego Motsepe, 3. Wandile Luvuno, 2. Tholinhlanhla Masuku, 8. Kananelo Motsoeneng, 5. Sibusiso Ndlovu, 7. Paseka Matsheka (capt), 23. Simphiwe Mlangeni, 16. Israel Matshane, 9. Adam Fynn, 24. Mandisi Gadla.
Replacements: 27. Kagiso Ramadivhane (GK), 4. Gift Mogorosi, 6. Lindani Nkabinde, 11. Kagiso Moshotetsi, 12. Bongani Taaibosch, 21. Banele Hlophe, 25. Hope Moeng.
Coach: Karabo Masehela
By Dumisani Koyana