KATLEGO PHEEHA

 

Top of the table AmaTuks  beat seventh placed  team in the National First Division (NFD) United FC  4-1 in a commanding performance in front of their home crowd at the Absa Tuks Stadium on 5 May.

AmaTuks had the worst possible start, conceding a handball penalty in the opening minutes of the game. Mancoba made no mistake with the spot-kick, sending the keeper the other way to give United a 1-0 lead.

AmaTuks immediately started chasing the game, playing an attacking game and allowing their right back Keeno Shellar to come forward and create crossing opportunities. AmaTuks did a good job of creating scoring opportunities but the United defence lead by captain Daniel Moeletsi was solid and the teams went into the half time break with United’s lead intact.

But the second half started off well for AmaTuks, with an equaliser from Mtsweni. This changed the game and  both teams were now battling for possession, trying to gain an advantage. United played a less defensive game, which exposed them to AmaTuks’s good counter-attacking football. AmaTuks became much more threatening. The pressure finally broke when Mmusa found himself one-on-one with the keeper. The Tuks attacking midfielder was composed as he slotted the ball between the oposition keeper’s legs into the net to give the home side the lead.

After trailing United had no choice but to attack, but the team was unable to retain possession on the rare occasion that they had the ball.

Mtsweni had the opportunity for his second goal after more good passing by Tuks, he placed the ball in the corner forcing a great save from keeper Nimrode Tsengwa. But the resulting corner was beautifully set up for Thokozani Sekotlong who headed it past the keeper to the excitement of the home crowd. AmaTuks now held a 3-1 lead and looked set to close off the game.

But in the 90th minute Tuks capitalised on the tired United defence, when substitute striker Chibuzor Nwogbo received a low cross and easily put the ball past the keeper for the fifth and final goal of the match. At full-time AmaTuks had a comfortable 4-1 win to extend their lead on top of the NFD log table to six points ahead of Blackburn Rovers, who drew 1-1 against African Warriors. “We told ourselves that this is the game for us to win, knowing that the other teams had lost and we had to take advantage of the situation. Now we are just focusing on one game at a time,” said Setjhaba Mmusa, who was instrumental to his team’s win.

With three games left to play in the season AmaTuks next face FC Cape Town tomorrow (9 May) at Absa Tuks Stadium.  A draw in that game will all but ensure that next season AmaTuks will play their football in the country’s top professional football league: Premier Soccer League (PSL). The NFD title is now a two horse race between AmaTuks (52 points) and Blackburn Rovers (46 points). Thanda Royal Zulu has 44 pionts and is out of the title race following their 2-0 loss to Carara Kicks. Be sure to watch the AmaTuks in their pursuit of promotion to the PSL and the NFD title tomorrow at the Absa Tuks Stadium. Kick offis at 15:00.

AmaTuks face FC Cape Town at the ABSA Tuks stadium on Wednesday,  9 May. AmaTuks will then face Black Aces and finish things off at home against title rivals Thanda Royal Zulu.

Jarred Uys, u/19 Tuks manager believes that AmaTuks coach Steve Barker will go all-out in the remaining games. “He is an ambitious coach. He will look for a win in the first two games to ease the pressure and cruise to the title,” Uys said.

With AmaTuks having a relatively easy run-in it is expected that the men from Pretoria will play in the PSL next season alongside fellow university outfit Wits. With a crop of good players, the glamour of the PSL and home support spurring them on, come August AmaTuks should be seen on televisions across the country performing in South Africa’s top league.

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