Absa Premiership

Maritzburg, Highlands share spoils at Harry Gwala

Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)
Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)

Pietermaritzburg - It was all square at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night as Highlands Park mounted a late comeback to secure a 1-1 draw with Maritzburg United.

The first half ended in stalemate, but the hosts finally broke the deadlock early in the second half through Kwanda Mngonyama, only for Peter Shalulile to rescue a draw for the visitors at the death.

With both sides having started their 2019/20 campaign with a defeat, this Friday night encounter proved to be closely contested in the opening 45 minutes.

The first chance of note arrived in the seventh minute as Maritzburg forward Thabiso Kutumela saw his first-time volley kept out by Lions of the North keeper Marlon Heugh.

Highlands Park hit back with two chances of their own a few minutes later, but Makhehlene Makhaula fired his driven shot wide of the left-hand upright, before Mothobi Mvala failed to find the mark.

However, it was the hosts who finished the first half strongly after twice going close to breaking the deadlock.

Midfielder Daniel Morgan fired a right-footed volley over the bar after arriving late in the box, while defender Kwanda Mngonyama headed narrowly wide of the far post on the stroke of half-time.

And Maritzburg picked up where they left off after the break, claiming the lead in the 52nd minute when Mngonyama fired home at the far post.

The goal did not open the flood gates, though, with the pace of the game slowing down following a string of substitutions from both sides.

The Team of Choice then went close to doubling their advantage in the 74th minute, Judas Moseamedi heading just wide at the near post after being teed up by Daylon Claasen.

And they were made to rue that missed opportunity as the Lions of North roared back in the final minutes, Shalulile firing a volley into the bottom-left corner to make it 1-1.

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