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Football | Absa Premiership

Highlands slip up against Leopards



Highlands Park recorded their second successive draw in the Absa Premiership when they drew 2-2 with Black Leopards at the Makhulong Stadium on Thursday.

The draw took the Lions of the North to 12th place on the league standings, while Lidoda Duvha climbed up to fourth place on the table.

The Lions of the North made their intentions clear a few minutes into the game through their attacking midfielder Sabelo Nyembe.

The 26-year-old player's goal-bound effort was cleared off the goal-line with Leopards goalkeeper Rotshidzwa Muleka well-beaten.

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Muleka, who is a diminutive shot-stopper, was struggling to deal with aerial balls and he was punished by the hosts in the 21st minute.

Luckyboy Mokoena decided to try his luck from range in the 21st minute and his dipping shot beat Muleka hands down to make 1-0 to Highlands.

Lidoda Duvha tried to respond with a goal with their main striker Mwape Musonda working tire tirelessly upfront.

His strike-partner Joseph Mhlongo saw his long-range shot miss the target on the half-hour mark as visitors looked to level matters.

Last season's National First Division (NFD) Golden Boot winner Musonda had a chance to score a few minutes before the halftime break.

However, the Zambian marksman's headed effort flew wide of the target without troubling Highlands keeper Tapuwa Kapini.

The Lions of the North were able to hold on to their slender lead until the match referee blew the halftime whistle.

Highlands were 1-0 up during the halftime break following a lively first-half.

The visitors pressed the Lions of the North after the restart and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising just before the hour-mark.

However, Musonda, who scored 15 goals in the NFD last season, placed the subsequent free-kick wide of the target.

The Highlands defence which was led by the experienced Bevan Fransman looked solid and impenetrable.

Lefa Hlongwane was introduced by Leopards coach Joel Masutha in the 71st minute as the visitors pushed for a late equalizer.

However, it was the home side, who scored the next goal through their second-half substitute Ricardo Williams.

The 21-year-old midfielder scored with a left-footed effort to make it 2-0 to Highlands with three minutes left on the clock.

Leopards never lost hope as they pulled one back through their super-sub Themba Ndlovu, who made it 2-1 in stoppage time.

The Highlands defence then went to sleep and they were punished by Musonda, who scored from close range to ensure that the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Highlands (1) 2 (L.Mokoena 21', Williams 87')

Leopards (0) 2 (T.Ndlovu 90'+1, Musonda 90'+3)

TEAMS:

Highlands Park: Kapini, Fransman, Motsepe, I.Mokoena (Msimango 67'), Ramoraka, Mvala, Zwane (Williams 69'), Mahlangu (Versuur 84'), Rae, Nyembe, M.Mokoena.

Black Leopards: Muleka, Mudau, Munganga, Ndou, Mashoene (T.Ndlovu 88'), Nange, Nene, Tshepe, Mhlongo (Mahangwahaya 62'), Ndlovu (Hlongwane 71') Musonda.



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