By Kupakwashe Kambasha
The University of Johannesburg soccer team managed to snatch a narrow win against all odds during their Johannesburg SAB league match against Wits University on Saturday the 20th of May.
The encounter witnessed a Wits team that outplayed the UJ boys in areas like maintaining ball possession. “It’s a very strong team and they are a very good footballing side,” said Mandla Zwane the UJ coach while acknowledging that UJ was outplayed by Wits University F.C.
However, Wits University F.C. failed to execute clinical finishing in their attempts for goals which were defensively repelled by the UJ boys. “We tried to break them (UJ team) down many times but we failed,” said Phuphu Mohlaba one of Wits University F.C. coaches.
On explaining the defensive tactics of UJ, Zwane said that “the best way was to wait for them (Bidvest Wits) to come and open up spaces then we play on a counterattack.”
With Wits University F.C. squandering most of their chances during the 1st half, which they would later regret, a more composed UJ side slowly got into the game executing a flowing attack that almost altered the score sheet on the 40thminute. However, the chance went begging wide.
The momentum of both teams gradually picked as the 2nd half unravelled. A more confident UJ side stepped up to the challenge as it created some stale mate breaking chances during the early stages of the 2nd half. The UJ’s strike on the 56th minute that went slightly above the cross bar gave warning signs to Wits University that had cooled down a bit.
Moreover, both teams were getting crucial opportunities that failed to alter the score sheet. Wits nearly had the opportunity to draw first blood 16 minutes into the 2nd half, with a powerful shot on target that was saved by a vigilant UJ goalkeeper.
It took the UJ team 68 minutes to get an unmissable chance where they almost scored a goal that sent the crowd into massive cheers, however the ball hit a cross bar.
The UJ side slowly picked up momentum and eventually broke the stale mate with a 79th minute counter attack that caught the Wits side off-guard. The goal scorer for UJ, Sbongeleni Gamede took the chance in clinical fashion.
Although the UJ boys were being dominated during some parts of the game it was clear that the home advantage gave them some fighting spirit. “We showed character and we knew that Wits is a good team,” said Gamede.
As the Johannesburg S.A.B league draws to an end, U.J will play against Stheo F.C. in their last away match next week on the 27th of May. Above all, a win will contribute to their prospects of finishing in the top 5. TOJ
CORRECTIONS: On the 21st of May 2017, The Open Journal referred to Wits University F.C as Bidvest Wits. This is one of the ways of acknowledging that we’ve made a mistake by confusing the facts.