UP-Tuks’s hope of a hat-trick title in the Varsity Football league came to a disappointing end after they were defeated by the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) at the UP Stadium on Thursday 10 September. Over 4 500 spectators came to show their support and were left heartbroken when TUT were able to clinch a 4-1 victory on penalties. AmaTuks head coach Sammy Troughton was among the supporters with several of his AmaTuks players, and was hopeful before the game. “Obviously the senior team will be in support of the lads in today’s match. We are [also] giving the coaches all our support for today’s game,” said Troughton.
The UP-Tuks team, however, squandered countless opportunities in a nervous semi-final. TUT keeper King Ndlovu proved worthy of his Varsity Football Super Striker performance as early as the third minute, and made a save that denied winger UP Lindsay Stowman in the 13th minute.
As UP-Tuks players became comfortable with the ball they began to create scoring opportunities that put pressure on the opposing defence. Ndlovu received a yellow card in the 42nd minute that awarded the defending champions a free kick outside the box, which was blocked by the TUT wall. The last play of the first half also saw Ndlovu make another save against a Jeremiah Nkwana free kick.
The second half began positively with both teams creating scoring opportunities, with a solid Robin Swartz in the Tuks midfield and an enterprising Itumeleng Mogotsi for TUT. Tuks’s best opportunity of the match came in the 61st minute when Stowman received a pass from Tebogo Galane in the final third, but shot the ball wide. Stowman, who was named the man of the match, was able to create a few more chances for UP but all in vain as Ndlovu kept TUT in a game that was to be decided by penalties.
Tuks made a few late changes in their preparations for the penalties as Stowman and Galane came off for Mbongeni Masilela and Thabo Ndlovu, but Tuks still faced challenges having lost their leading goalkeeper David Ribero to a knee injury. TUT took every one of their penalties clinically as Ndlovu’s save off the UP-Tuks’s first penalty kept Tuks on the back foot. UP were unable to recover from their poor start.
The defeat sees UP fall out of the 2015 competition and lose the opportunity to retain their title. The 2015 Varsity Cup champions will be decided on 24 September.