UWC Football Club took a giant step towards attaining their dream of securing a semi-final place in the Varsity Football tournament when they beat Vaal University of Technology (VUT) 2-1 on Monday, 10 August.
The victory at UWC Sports Stadium put UDUBS in a commanding position in the competition as they extended their lead in the summit of the log standings to 10 points – three points away from the chasing pack. Teams finishing in the top four after the round-robin games in the eight-team mini league will qualify for semi-finals.
On a chilly winter evening, the game started on a high as both sides surged forward to search for the opening goal. But it was the home side to strike first when star midfielder Thulani Mkosi capitalised on a defensive blunder by the visitors to score from an acute angle. His goal earned him the Samsung Super Strike award – his third accolade in three matches after he was chosen as the FNB Man of the Match in the previous two games.
Both sides could have scored more goals in the first stanza, but heroic saves by goalkeepers and missed opportunities meant that the score line remained 1-0 going to the break.
After the interval the visitors came back firing and it was not long before Gomolemo Jiyane silenced the home supporters with an equaliser. VUT should have taken the lead minutes later but the home defence cleared off the line.
That seemed to have given UDUBS the wakeup call they needed as they strengthened their defence and took the game to the visitors. But it was only in the 90th minute that substitute Phiwokuhle Mpalala nodded home the winning goal to send UDUBS supporters into excited celebration.
UWC captain Reon October praised his team and the fans for the win. “In the first half we played better, keeping a lot of possession, but in the second half we let it go a bit, allowing them to come at us. But the boys showed a lot of character and the fans were always behind us.”
“I’m very happy with the three points; they take us closer to the semi-finals. We can now ease a bit and focus on the next game.”
UWC have tough assignments ahead and will need to maintain their good performance in the tournament. Their next game is away at fourth-placed North West University on 17 August, before welcoming home third-placed Tshwane University of Technology a week later.