VUT and UFS upset TUT and Tuks respectively in Round 2 of Varsity Football on Friday, while NWU thrashed UKZN and Wits drew with UJ.
UKZN 0 NWU 6
Banele Hlophe scored four goals, including a first-half hat-trick, as NWU thrashed UKZN at Tuks Stadium.
The Impi failed to live up to their nickname and were lucky to lose by six goals as NWU turned this encounter into a practice match where they toyed with their opponents.
Hlophe scored the quickest goal of the competition so far, from the penalty spot, in the third minute after being fouled by UKZN goalkeeper Thandolwakhe Radebe.
Two minutes later, the referee awarded a spot kick at the other end of the field when NWU goalkeeper Lesedi Mokwena fouled Njabulu Mkhize. But Mokoena redeemed himself by saving Percy Shongwe’s penalty.
UKZN conceded another spot-kick in the 35th minute when Shongwe handed the ball despite his team not being in any danger. Hlophe converted the penalty and then completed his hat-trick by rolling the ball into an empty net after another shocking defensive display by the UKZN defenders on the stroke of half-time.
Hlophe added a fourth in the second half to secure the FNB Player of the Match award, with Israel Matshane (57th minute) and Katleho Tsotetsi (76th) also getting their names on the scoresheet.
UKZN coach Thabo Dladla, who at 64 is the oldest coach in the competition, had his hands on his head in disbelief as he watched his team fall apart, while his NWU counterpart, Karabo Masehela, who at 31 is the youngest, had plenty of reasons to smile.
TUT 2 VUT 4
Thulani Sibisi bagged a hat-trick as VUT fought back from 1-0 down at half-time to upset two-time Varsity Football champions TUT 4-2.
Sibisi opening his scoring in minute 52, and rounded off a stellar performance with two late second-half goals, his third coming three minutes into added time. VUT’s other goal came courtesy of an own goal by TUT’s Tebogo Lekaba.
TUT took the lead in the 13th minute of the match through Thuso Mlamla, but had to wait until the 90th for Philasande Kubheka to get their second.
Sibisi was named the FNB Player of the Match.
UFS 3 TUKS 1
Sello Diphoko scored a hat-trick as Kovsies caused the second big upset of the day against Tuks at Tuks Stadium.
Diphoko, who had been the match-winner for UFS in their first game against UKZN, picked up his second FNB Player of the Match award after single-handily inspiring his team to a famous win.
He is the joint top goal-scorer in the tournament with Sanele Hlophe of NWU (four goals each).
Three-time Varsity Football winners Tuks fielded five players from the AmaTuks’ GladAfrica Championship team, while Kovsies’ players were relatively unknown by comparison.
Yet UFS were able to frustrate Tuks in a dull first half that had few chances and scored just before half-time when Diphoko’s shot deflected off Tuks captain Blessing Mabasa to deceive goalkeeper Yurie Mortimer.
There was nothing lucky about Diphoko’s second goal, in the 51st minute, as he scored a contender for a goal of the tournament with a volley to give Mortimer no chance.
Diphoko put the game beyond Tuks’ reach with a fourth goal in the 76th minute, with Alex Stothard scoring a late consolation goal from the spot-kick.
WITS 1 UJ 1
The two Johannesburg-based teams had to settle for a share of the spoils after a tightly contested game at Tuks Stadium.
It was a first half of few chances. UJ slightly edged Wits in terms of ball possession but did not do enough to test their goalkeeper.
Wits scored against the run of play in the 43rd minute after catching UJ off-guard. Wendelle Martin assisted Mthokozisi Sibisi with the header, and he did the rest by putting the ball into the back of the net. The goal breathed new life into the game.
UJ stepped up a gear in the second half in search of an equaliser and their pressure paid off when Sanele Mhlungu scored in the 58th minute.
Both teams are on course for a top-four finish with four points after two matches.
Round 3 fixtures (Monday, 13 September):
Tuks vs Wits (14:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Variety 4, DStv channel 209)
UJ vs UFS (15:00, Tuks B-Field)
VUT vs UKZN (16:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Variety 4, DStv channel 209)
NWU vs TUT (18:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Variety 4, DStv channel 209)
By Charles Baloyi
Photos: Christiaan Kotze/Catherine Kotze/Varsity Sports