TUT beat Wits 2-1 at Tuks Stadium on Wednesday to revive their flagging Varsity Football campaign, while there were also wins for UJ and Tuks.
UKZN 0 UJ 2
UJ cruised to victory against the whipping boys of the competition at Tuks Stadium, with Pogiso Mabote and Tumelo Molubi scoring either side of half-time.
The result ensured UJ go into the one-week break at the top of the log, with three wins and one draw. UKZN are at the bottom, having lost all four of their matches while conceding 12 goals.
It took UJ just three minutes to open the scoring when a defensive blunder from UKZN allowed Mabote to roll the ball into an empty net.
UJ toyed with the UKZN defence in the first half, but lacked the killer blow in front of goal.
But they did double their tally in the 53rd minute when UKZN goalkeeper Khayelihle Luhlongwane left the goal unguarded after making a save and Molubi had an easy tap-in.
Mabote was named the FNB Player of the Match.
VUT 0 TUKS 1
Conor Keylock’s 90th-minute goal gave Tuks a vital win against VUT at the Tuks B-Field.
VUT did well to block the preceding free-kick but could do nothing as Keylock found the top-right corner with a superb strike.
The midfielder was mobbed by his teammates and an obvious choice for the FNB Player of the Match award.
UFS 0 NWU 0
Kovsies and the defending champions played to a dull goalless draw at Tuks Stadium in a game with few scoring chances.
The uninspiring stalemate was probably a fair result, as neither team created enough goal-scoring opportunities to warrant a win.
Both teams will go into the one-week break with seven log points having won two matches, lost one and drawn one.
Kovsies’ Sello Diphoko tried too hard to add to his four-goal tally in this tournament against a rock-solid NWU defence.
The tight game forced the players to shoot from long range, with Kovsies goalkeeper Ntobeko Mhlongo pulling off two fantastic saves to deny Banele Hlophe and Adam Fynn.
The teams continued to cancel each other out in the second half.
Hlophe ventured forward as he pushed his side to find that elusive goal for NWU.
The closest Kovsies came to scoring in the second period was when Obakeng Seekoei hit the post in the 64th minute with Mokwena rooted to the spot.
Kovsies were given a scare when Diphoko was stretched off the pitch after being hit in the face by the ball while defending a free-kick. But their talisman returned to the field after receiving treatment much to the relief of the technical team.
Seekoei was rewarded for a workman-like shift in a tight game with the FNB Player of the Match award.
TUT 2 WITS 1
TUT broke Wits’ hearts with a dramatic 87th-minute winner from substitute Tumelo Moeng at Tuks Stadium.
In their previous match, Wits had conceded to Tuks in the 88th minute to lose by the same scoreline.
This was a must-win game for TUT and skipper Tebogo Lekaba gave them the perfect start when dispatching a stunning free-kick that beat Wits goalkeeper Minenhle Mbatha.
‘Minenhle’ means ‘a good day’, but it quickly became a bad one for Mbatha, who had to shoulder the blame for allowing the ball to get past him from so far out.
TUT coach Bushy Moloi, who wore a suit instead of his usual tracksuit, celebrated the goal with his captain and technical team.
TUT’s Boitumelo Mosupyoe was lucky to escape a red card after his dangerous two-footed tackle on Bradley Mongwe in the 28th minute, with the referee brandishing a yellow instead.
Wits stepped up a gear in the second half and forced goalkeeper Sikhumbuzo Ncube into making a couple of saves.
The pressure paid off for Wits when Sibisi scored an equaliser in the 59th minute after substitute Muhammad Carrim had provided the best assist of the tournament with a back heel.
But a late lapse of concentration cost Wits a valuable point while giving TUT three points that keep their semi-final hopes alive.
TUT’s Thuso Mlamla won the FNB Player of the Match award.
Round 5 fixtures (Wednesday, 22 September):
UFS vs TUT (14:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Variety 4, DStv channel 209)
Wits vs UKZN (15:00, Tuks B-Field)
UJ vs Tuks (16:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Variety 4, DStv channel 209)
NWU vs VUT (18:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Variety 4, DStv channel 209)
By Charles Baloyi
Photos: Christiaan Kotze/Catherine Kotze/Varsity Sports