The beginning of the third instalment of the Varsity Cup Football tournament began on 20 July.
The opening match of the tournament saw the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) go up against the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in a very open encounter. Wits dominated most of the proceedings but were unable to convert their chances. UWC created opportunities for themselves in the second half as they grew more comfortable, but their lack of finishing also let them down. In the end, the match finished in a 0-0 stalemate.
The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) also played out to a goalless draw against Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Vanderbijlpark. Both sides were heavily affected by injuries.
The last encounter saw a clash of the newcomers. Walter Sisulu University (WSU) won 3-2 against North West University (Pukke). It was a nervous encounter for both teams, with WSU obtaining a 1-0 lead before the break. WSU scored two more goals, extending their lead before two late goals from NWU created an exciting finish to the game.
The last fixture of the first round took place on Thursday 23 July and saw defending champions, UP-Tuks go up against the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). The Tshwane derby was marked as one of the matches of the season, but ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The match saw few goal scoring opportunities. TUT had one of the better chances in the first half when Themba Ndlovu hit the upright with a long range shot in the early stages. UP were able to create scoring opportunities off dead-ball situations, but were unsuccessful. In a physical encounter, UP were able to keep a creative TUT attack at bay, with defender Lawrence Ntswane awarded man of the match for his efforts.
The first round saw newcomers WSU lead the pack with three points, with six of the other teams deadlocked with one point each and NWU yet to pick up a point.
The second round of the Varsity Cup started on 27 July and proved even harsher for UP, who faced UWC in the second round and led 1-0 in the first half after Jeremiah Nkwana scored in the 26th minute. Their lead, however, was equaled when Josh Silent of UWC scored a goal in the 66th minute. UP was shocked yet again by another goal from UWC in the 84th minute by Tapelo Sixishe. The match ended with UWC clinching the win 2-1.
WSU were humbled by TUT who beat them 3-1. TUT continue to maintain their record of never losing a Varsity football league match and also claim the top position on the log going into round three.
Wits took on NMMU at the Wits stadium. The match was goalless until the second half when Wits scored a goal. NMMU attempted to equalise but never managed to, with the match ending as a 1-0 win for Wits.
The third round kicks off on 3 August with UP facing NMMU at home. Hopefully the homeground advantage will give UP the boost they need to move themselves up the log where they are currently placed seventh, above NWU and below NMMU. TUT are at the top of the log, followed by Wits and UWC in second and third place respectively. Fourth place belongs to WSU while VUT are hanging on to the sixth spot.
Photo: Kay O’Brien