The last quarter of the game saw both teams attacking frantically. Tuks’ Nicholas Killas was enterprising and would later be named the man-of-the-match. Both keepers kept their teams in the game as the coaches used up their allotted substitutions to improve the game. Both teams tired out in the final minutes of the game, but it was a lapse in concentration from the defending champions which gave an opportunity to Wits. A 94th minute strike by Wits’ Wonderboy Frank sunk the depleted Pretoria side in what was to be the last play of the match after UP-Tuks had worked hard to get back on level terms after a first-half goal by their Johannesburg counterparts.
This sees the two teams on level points in what is proving to be a dog fight for spots in the semi-finals, with only the University of the Western Cape in a secure position.
On Monday 24 August, UP-Tuks hosted North-West University (Pukke) in the sixth round of the Varsity Football competition.
The game got off to a frantic start as both teams tussled for the ball. The first real chance came as early as the seventh minute when Tuks winger Lindsay Stowman whipped in a cross from the far right. However, the attempt was cleared by Pukke. Tuks continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded when Tebogo Galane’s key pass set up Claudio De Almeida for a goal in the 11th minute. A few minutes later Njabulo Skosana of Pukke had a shot from range, but his attempt did little to trouble Dylan Paterson as it was well clear of the target. Tuks were awarded a free-kick in the 22nd minute, but Nkwana’s attempted shot at the goal bounced off the wall.
Nkwana chased down Falakhe Ponoshe to make a well-timed sliding-tackle that ended a dangerous looking counterattack by Pukke. UP attacking duo Galane and De Almeida linked up in the box only to be quelled by the Pukke defence. In the 40th minute, Stowman made an assist when he curled in a cross that was met by the head of striker Galane. Ponoshe then looked to pull one back for Pukke after unleashing a powerful shot which produced a reflex save from Paterson. The first half rounded off with a 2-0 score-line in favour of UP.
Pukke were aggravated two minutes into the second half when they were penalised for dangerous play, giving Nkwana a free-kick. Nkwana seized the opportunity and extended the lead to 3-0 for Tuks. UP continued to extend their advantage over the visitors, this time with De Almeida forcing a great save from Mojalefa Magabe with a stinging shot. Stowman seemed goal-bound when he found himself with only the keeper to beat after a well-timed lob pass by defensive midfielder Robin Swartz. However Pukke were let off the hook when the referee judged Stowman off-side.
Stowman continued to probe the Pukke defence with his relentless work rate and nearly bagged a goal when his header bounced off the upright. The header left the Tuks winger seeking medical attention after a clash of heads with the Pukke goalkeeper. The game ended with UP claiming a well-deserved and much needed 3-0 victory to make up for the previous week’s disappointment and put them back into contention for a semi-final spot.
UP-Tuks’ remaining fixtures will be at home as the team look to regain their form in order to progress and challenge for the title.