Johannesburg – Platinum Stars fought back to draw 2-2 with Polokwane City in their Premier Soccer League game at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night.
The MTN8 and Telkom Knockout Cup winners found themselves trailing by two goals after 26 minutes, with crackerjack 22 year-old striker Puleng Tlolane scoring both times as Polokwane City began with a bang and looked like causing a major upset.
Tlolane demonstrated his mettle as early as the fourth minute when he burst through a static, seemingly complacent Stars' defence and opened the score with an opportunist goal.
Tlolane completed his brace with a second in the 26th minute of the encounter as City raced to a two-goal lead.
The beckoning three points would have been invaluable for 13th-placed City as they battle to steer clear of the relegation zone, but Stars had other ideas and gradually gained a dominant grip on the proceedings.
Skilled Malawi international midfielder Robert Ng'ambi gave Stars a deserved goal in the 41st minute after receiving the ball from a long throw-in, and the second half belonged almost entirely to the clinical Rustenburg-based combination.
While Stars dominated possession during the second period while probing continually for an equaliser, they had to wait until the 84th minute before making the score 2-2.
Sphelele Mthembu's shot was cleared off the line, but Tintswalo Tshabalala snapped up the rebound and made no mistake while securing the equaliser.
In all, Stars had 13 shots at goal, with five of them on target, while City made telling use by scoring twice from the only attempts they had on target in the first half.
While it was a relatively easy night for recent Bafana Bafana squad member Siyabonga Mpontshane in the Stars' goal, Modiri Marumo was kept busy throughout in doing a good job to keep the probing Stars' strikers at bay.
Stars coach Allan Freese again surprised by leaving players of the calibre of Mthembu and Botswana international Mogakolodi Ngele on the bench at the outset, with the Rustenburg side looking a more skilled and potent combination when they came on in the second period.
“We made a great start and had a great chance of gaining three invaluable points,” said City coach Boebie Solomons.
“But a draw against a team of Stars' calibre is not a bad result at the end, and one point will help us ease away from the relegation zone in any case.” – Sapa