TEMBISA – A storm-delayed league match at the Makhulong Stadium on Sunday afternoon saw Highlands Park coming from behind to claim a 1-1 draw against SuperSport United.
The Tshwane side scored just before the interval through Aubrey Modiba, but after a lengthy delay for the start second half, Mothobi Mvala levelled proceedings shortly after the restart.
The first stanza was, for the most part, played at a lethargic pace, not unsurprisingly due to the searing temperatures on a scorching afternoon on the East Rand.
The home side did make a fairly bright start, and had the first opening of the game when Spiwe Msimango set up Peter Shalulile, but the Namibian fired well over the bar in the seventh minute.
Chances remained at a premium, and even when SuperSport appeared to have created a scoring opportunity when Modiba latched onto a mix-up in the opposition defence and sprinted goalwards, defender Junior Sibande did superbly to get back and make a possible goal-saving tackle.
As some cloud cover brought a bit of respite from the heat in the closing minutes of the first half in Tembisa, the home side upped their efforts in attack, but were twice stopped short of potentially opening the scoring due to questionable calls from the match officials.
Instead, it was the Pretoria team who were to take the lead in the 45th minute when Evans Rusike broke down the left and squeezed in a pass to Modiba, whose shot from a tight angle went through the legs of a defender before going past Highlands keeper Tapuwa Kapini and into the net.
While the players were in the dressing room, a storm rolled in and the restart was to be delayed for just over 40 minutes, over player safety concerns due to the lightning.
When proceedings finally resumed, it took just a minute for the hosts to restore parity as a cross from Lindokuhle Mbatha was emphatically headed home by the league's top goal scorer, Mvala, who took his tally to seven.
Following the equaliser, there was little to separate the teams, with not much in the way of scoring opportunities, bar headed attempts from Mvala and SuperSport defender Clayton Daniels around the hour mark, both of which missed the target.
The game was there for the taking, but with both teams mindful of being exposed at the back, the match seemed increasingly set for a draw.
The Lions of the North did have a couple of half chances through Mokete Mogaila late on, but on the first occasion he was denied by a fine covering tackle by Bongani Khumalo, before he blasted a shot over the bar from a good position in the box, with what was the last kick in the league until the resumption on January 4 next year.
The point earned sees Owen da Gama's team go above Cape Town City on goal difference and into eighth spot, a commendable achievement so far for the newly-promoted side.
African News Agency (ANA)