The University of Johannesburg side held out against Wits in the Varsity Hockey men’s tournament in Stellenbosch on Monday to qualify for the final game.
The defending champions will be targeting their second successive title in the biennial competition, after winning the inaugural tournament in 2014.
They will square off against Tuks on Monday at UJ. The Pretoria university beat Maties 1-0 in the other semi-final.
Wits went 4-0 up between the 26th and the 34th minute, giving UJ a scare, but the champions fought back to level at 4-4 in the remaining 26 minutes.
With goalkeeper Matthew Martins staying strong, they won the penalty shootout 3-1.
UJ coach Garreth Ewing said he was both relieved and delighted.
“It just goes to show that anything can happen in 60 minutes.
“We were initially weak defensively, but the guys took a mental step in the last 10 to 15 minutes. We were calm in the shootout, and relieved to get through.”
After losing to Maties in the league phase, Tuks hit back in the semis, showing they will be tough opponents.
“We know they are a good defensive unit and it will be a big challenge,” said Ewing.
“It’s a big rivalry for us and for them, so it’s going to be exciting and a really intense game.”
Having gone through the league phase unbeaten to top the log, UJ have earned home-ground advantage for the final.
“Being two teams from the Highveld does even it out, but I think playing at home will be great for us and we are looking forward to that opportunity.”