Coming from 1-0 down, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) senior men’s football team turned the tables on the University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) men’s team by scoring three goals in the second half of the match. UJ went back to winning ways on Thursday evening, 28 July 2022 in the second round of the 2022 FNB Varsity Football edition.
UJ won the match by 3-1, with Advocate Mokwena winning Man of the Match on the night.
It was a game of two halves with UP-Tuks having opened the score in the opening minutes of the game due to a miscommunication by the UJ defenders. UP-Tuks’ lead put pressure on UJ in the first half. Captain Neo Lebopa and goalkeeper Richard Lona played a crucial role to keep the hosts at bay.
In the second half, UJ Head Coach Karabo Mogudi’s half-time break words seemed to make the difference to the UJ team as they piled up pressure on the hosts. The fired up debutant, Philane Masondo, scored an equalizer for the Orange Army (UJ) in the 59th minute of the game. Ten minutes later, the skilled UJ attacking midfielder, Thulani Zandamela, put UJ in the lead (2-1).
This gave UJ control of the game, though missing a number of chances to score. In the referee’s added time, UJ’s Thanda Madiba sealed the game with a third goal to make it 3-1, reducing last week’s goal deficit against Tshwane University of Technology (2-0).
“The first thing we spoke about in the change room was the psychological readiness of the players because we could see towards the end of the first half that we were making some technical errors.
“So, to get the guys mindset right, we told them that the game is still open for any of the two teams, we had to go back to do our best. I’m glad they listened and believed that they could win it and they did just that with beautify three open goals,” said Coach Thando Zulu, UJ Men’s Football team Assistant coach.
Zulu says that the UJ team stuck to the game plan. This, he says, was evident in the period they were trailing 1-0 in the first half.
On his winning the Man of the Match (R2000.00), Mokwena said, “It’s a great feeling because it shows that I played well. I think there were other players who deserved it more than me, but personally, I am happy to be selected for this accolade. Winning the match is a good morale booster for the team.”