By Buyeleni Sibanyoni (2 mins read)
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) men’s soccer team seem to be struggling in their own home yard following winless droughts in the past two home matches.
Their last encounter against the University of the Western Cape (UWC) was yet another blow to coach Mandla Zwane and his boys as UJ nearly lost the game.
But the Orange Army managed to salvage a late goal from a thrilling and controversial match that finished 2-2.
It was an intense game as both teams sought three points in a stadium packed by some Orange supporters brave to withstand the chilly weather of Soweto.
Red cards, miracle goals and intensity characterised this fierce clash as both teams squared off on the pitch.
UWC Abdel-Hakeem Mohamed scored in the first 10 minutes of the game due to a defence mistake.
The same half saw equally fierce attacking football. Goalkeepers from both sides were tested, creating scenes of multiple saves on each end.
The second half was nothing short of action as drama unfolded when UWC goalkeeper Ryan Ramandh got a red card for time wasting and was sent off the pitch.
It was the perfect opportunity for UJ to level the playing field. Even though the atmosphere was now tense, UWC showed that they wanted to score another goal to seal their win.
UJ capitalised through an equalising goal from Moagi Makhoane. He scored after a mistake made by the new UWC goalkeeper.
UWC did not crack under the pressure and shortly scored a second goal courtesy of Luke Vester’s free kick.
It all seemed to have been lost for the Army but in the last stages of the game, UJ’s Preston Mckay scored an all-important miracle goal.
Another red card was shown. This time it was to Orange player Lesego Sebetlela, who was penalised for foul language.
The encounter against UWC showed some resilience from UJ. However, their home record remains tainted with no wins at all.
For the fifth round of the Men’s Varsity Football, the Arm will face the North West University (NWU, also known as the Purple army) at UJ Soweto stadium on Thursday, 22nd August 2019.
Kick-off is at 18:15.
“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” UJ coach Zwane told The Open Journal. He said one of the challenges is the lack of wins in their home games and the need to do something about it.
For the upcoming match, Zwane said they will attack as promised and take everything with them, using home ground advantage and they will not disappoint their fans.
UJ is sitting at second seat with 7 points after four rounds: two wins, a draw and a loss.
When UJ captain Sphesihle Mbele was asked about the team’s performance, he acknowledged that he is not happy with the performance at home and the flaw of conceding early. TOJ
Reporting by Buyeleni Sibanyoni; Editing by Sinenhlanhla Ngwenya and Kupakwashe Kambasha.
UJ captain Sphesihle Mbhele tassels for the ball against UWC at the Soweto stadium.
Photo from Varsity Sports SA Facebook page.