Semifinal Hosts Confirmed
Tshwane University of Technology and Central University of Technology will play hosts in the Varsity Football playoffs after they secured first and second place on the log, respectively.
Despite UJ being the third team to secure their semifinal spot, the final match-ups will only be determined on September 1 when NWU-Mafikeng and Wits play their postponed match. The result of that game could see either NWU or UP-Tuks being the fourth and final team in the playoffs.
TUT maintained their unbeaten record after they fought back to claim a 2-2 draw against UWC in Cape Town and as a result, knocked the defending champions out of the competition while CUT's goalless draw with NWU ensured they locked up second place on the log.
UJ ensured their spot in the playoffs with a comfortable 4-2 victory over Fort Hare in Alice while Wits pulled off a massive upset to edge UP-Tuks 3-2 and dent the two-time champions' chances of making the semifinals.
All Monday's action!
UWC 2-2 TUT
UWC appeared more in control of the opening stages of the match as they produced some noteworthy attacking movements but TUT absorbed all that pressure and took the lead after 18 minutes. They turned over possession in midfield and a through pass found Sakhele Mthembu, who slotted home.
UWC were continuing to apply pressure onto TUT's defence and found reward in the 31st minute when Nhlanhla Manana was picked out by Josh Silent. Manana let rip with a wonder strike that found the far corner of the net to equalise for the home side.
The home side remained in the ascendancy and TUT's defence were caught napping in the 54th minute when a long found Thulani Nkosi, who sent in a cross that was met by an unmarked Josh Silent - the striker making no mistake in guiding the ball home.
The visitors were forced to bring on prolific goal scorer Jacob Hlalele and it paid off in the 81st minute when the striker found the back of the net after UWC's goalkeeper had parried a tame cross onto his feet.
UFH 2-4 UJ
Fort Hare began like a house on fire as Andile Batyi grabbed the game's opening goal in the eighth minute. However, their joy would be short lived though as UJ stamped their authority on proceedings from that point. Funnynight Sisimogang grabbed a quick brace to ensure a 2-1 lead for the visitors in the 30th minute.
Dane Fortuin slammed home a brilliant free-kick just six minutes to stretch their lead before Katlego Ntsabeleng ensured a 4-1 lead at half-time after firing the ball home from close range.
The match went into a bit of a lull for much of the second half as UJ sat back and defended their lead. However, they would leak a second goal in the 86th minute when Batyi's pin-point header rattled the net. That proved to be the final action of the match.
Wits 3-2 UP-Tuks
Wits striker Graeme Dor opened the scoring within two minutes of kick-off when he headed the ball home from a free-kick. Tuks pressed hard for the equaliser and got some luck when Snethemba Msane turned the ball into his own net.
Tuks then took a 2-1 lead through a neat Mbongeni Masilela finish in the 18th minute. The action settled from that point and the home crowd were on their feet in the 36th minute when Dor bagged his second of the match. The equaliser ensured the teams went level into the break.
Dor could not stop scoring and grabbed a hat-trick in the 53rd minute with a fine finish from close range. UFH had a chance to draw a goal back in the 51st minute but Batyi was too casual and saw his shot saved by Mpumelelo Sambo.
Tuks pushed hard for the equaliser but it was not meant to be.
CUT 0-0 NWU-Mafikeng
It was a fiery start to the encounter as both sides carved out chances but lacked the composure needed inside the box to trouble the goalkeepers. CUT came closest in the 18th minute though but a powerful header was denied by the crossbar.
NWU had their chances as the half progressed though but were unable to find the back of the net, mostly due to some dogged CUT defending. Tempers began to run high as the half came to an end as the tackles got harder.
The intensity remained in the opening stages of the second half. The home side produced a clear chance but were once again denied, this time by the upright. NWU had a chance of their own though but the shot sailed well over the bar.
The Mafikeng students remained on the front foot as the match wore on but they continued to miss the target, while CUT looked to hit them on the counter-attack. It was end to end stuff in the final 10 minutes but neither side were able to find the back of the net and had to settle for a share of the spoils.