Unbeaten TUT Seal Varsity Title
Tshwane University of Technology fought back from being a goal down to claim their first Varsity Football title by defeating the University of Johannesburg 2-1 in Pretoria on Thursday.
With more than 8000 spectators packed into the TUT Stadium, the Pretoria students made up for the defeat in the 2015 Final by becoming the third team to raise the trophy. What made the achievement more remarkable is the fact that TUT were unbeaten throughout the competition.
UJ were quickest out of the blocks and took the game to TUT in the opening exchanges. The first real chance of the game fell to Katlego Ntsabeleng but the UJ midfielder's shot flew over the crossbar in the fifth minute.
They had their reward three minutes later when UJ turned the ball over in midfield and a well-placed pass carved TUT's defence wide open. Sbongeleni Gamede took a first-time shot which beat the oncoming Dumisani Msibi to hand the visitors the lead.
UJ dominated the midfield battle and that forced TUT to employ long ball tactics. It became effective in the 21st minute when Rorisang Rapelang picked the ball up on the right flank and his floated cross picked out an unmarked Jacob Hlalele, who headed home past a stranded Mpumelelo Sambo.
TUT had a chance to take the lead 10 minutes later but Godfrey Mahlale's effort from the edge of the box was straight at Sambo in the UJ goal. Both sides created chances to take the lead before the break but failed to convert.
The home side came out strong in the second half and tested Sambo once again when Hlalele had another header on target, but the UJ shot-stopper was well positioned to keep the effort out. UJ were inches away from taking the lead in the 50th minute when a Lindani Mazibuko free kick hit the upright, much to the relief of a scrambling Msibi.
The home side grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 58th minute when Thabang Motau floated in a cross. Lanky defender Sipho Sibiya rose highest to head the ball home, despite Sambo getting a hand on it.
UJ were not going down without a fight though and placed constant pressure on the home side's defence but they failed to make the most of their chances and looked frantic in front of goal. With time running out, UJ threw numbers forward as they looked for a late equaliser.
It was not to be for the Johannesburg students as they became the first team to suffer two Final defeats.