UJ’s women’s A-team went head-to-head with Tuks on Saturday, 21st April at the AW Müller stadium at APB for the Women’s Sasol League (WSL).
Opposing teams looked ready and well-fuelled for the much-anticipated game as the fans loudly cheered. Women power was well demonstrated through skill and endurance in a surprisingly competitive match.
The game marked the third week of the WSL league, but it was UJ’s very first game of the league and Tuks’s third.
A recent miscommunication of time did not allow for UJ to play their first game. Their second game was postponed because of the late Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s funeral day.
Proceedings of the game witnessed a defensive start for UJ as Tuks came with a strong attack within the first ten minutes of the game. Tables turned when UJ came with a surprise attack at the box which Tuks’s keeper defended effortlessly and ended excitement for UJ fans.
A few minutes after the UJ attack, Tuks was awarded with a free kick a couple meters outside the UJ box, which subsequently netted their first goal.
The tackle that caused the free kick proved detrimental to UJ, as their captain took a knock from the challenge. This was much to the delight of Tuks fans as the UJ captain stepped off the pitch.
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The second half was heated with energy and plenty of activity from both teams. Tuks dominated with more attempts at goal and possession. The absence of UJ captain left UJ defenceless and a goal was conceded. She later came on, boosting both teammates’ and fan moral.
The second half started well for Tuks as the team’s striker swept past defence, striking accurately but the shot was knocked back by UJ keeper. The shot was within UJ defence territory with a few of the defenders at the back.
After a few minutes of battle, a dangerous collision occurred in the centre of the field between a UJ striker and Tuks defender who received the first yellow card of the game.
A few minutes after the unexpectedly conceived yellow card, and with utmost precision, Tuks striker unleased a smooth shot that found its way straight through the bottom right corner of the goal post, netting the second goal for the day.
Blood was spilt as UJ captain suffered another injury when she clashed heads with Tuks defender. This was her second injury in the game and was sent off the field to have her wounds tended to.
UJ moral dropped again at the absence of the captain. Due to this, Tuks dominated the game. UJ futilely attempted to balance the game with some attempts at goal but failed.
Tension rose in the centre of the pitch in the last few minutes of the game as both teams fought to get past opposing defence.
Heads dropped in disappointment for the UJ players when the final whistle blew. The final score was two-null to Tuks.
“The game was good although we had three weeks without playing and this was our first one. Even though we lost, we will fix some mistakes on the defence, attack and the midfield,” said UJ assistant coach Sibongile Sithole when speaking to The Open Journal after the match.
“It was a good game, and I think we were expecting that. The fitness paid off. We got them well in the last 20 minutes of the first half,” Tuks Coach Steve Matlou, who is known informally as Skaap, told The Open Journal.
“In the second half, we punished them more because we realised that they don’t have full backs and then we started exposing them on the side,” Skaap added.
(Contact Sinenhlanhla Ngwenya: firstname.lastname@example.org)