JOHANNESBURG – HighlandsPark defender Mothobi Mvala scored a last-gasp equaliser to give HighlandsPark a 1-1 draw with Bloemfontein Celtic on Tuesday.
After a goalless first half, Celtic appeared to be gaining the upper hand and midfielder Musa Nyatama was the hero of the day for the home side.
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Mothobi Mvala came to the rescue for Highlands Park with an equaliser in stoppage time. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix
His 58th-minute strike in an Absa Premiership match played at the Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein seemed set to continue Celtic’s improved form of late.
The match could well have been profiled as a six-point classic, with both sides desperately in search of the win to get away from the relegation battle.
Highlands were clearly cautious on the attack, and coach Gordon Igesund’s men have now conceded a total of 38 goals in 25 matches this season. They are seemingly set for a battle royal with Baroka FC in a bid to get away from the bottom two places on the league table.
Their position could have been so much worse had it not been for Mvala’s strike in the 94th minute of play. Like Celtic, Highlands will need no reminding of the difference in business terms between a top-flight franchise (worth roughly R60 million) and National First Division club (about R8m).
The pressure is now really on the Lions of the North, as Highlands are known, who won the National First Division title to gain promotion last season.
Not even the experience of former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Surprise Moriri and ever-dependable Franklin Cale could make enough inroads into the Celtic midfield, which has looked remarkably more consistent than in the first three-quarter matches of the season.
Celtic, now on 24 points from 24 games, will look to continue their improved form and do HighlandsPark a favour when they take on Baroka FC in Polokwane in their next league match on Sunday.
HighlandsPark, on 22 points from 25 matches, are set for arguably their toughest assignment of the year when they host title-chasing Bidvest Wits in Tembisa on Friday night.