Mothobi Mvala scored a 51st-minute winner for Highlands Park against Baroka FC on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Baroka FC relinquished an early lead to go down 2-1 to Highlands Park in a hard-fought Premiership match at the Makhulong Stadium on Saturday.

In an evenly-balanced and physical encounter in Tembisa, Mduduzi Mdatsane put Bakgaga ahead after 15 minutes.

But the home team fought back with a Sello Motsepe equaliser just before halftime, and a 51st-minute winner from Mothobi Mvala.

Baroka were the more industrious side in the opening half, although it was the hosts who had the first big chance when Ryan Rae fired in a volley from a corner kick, which was just about saved on the line by goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.

The visitors were however to grab a deserved lead in the 16th minute when Tshidiso Patjie’s free kick was glanced into the net via the head of Mdatsane.

The Limpopo team maintained their ascendancy after the goal, but lacked the clinical edge needed to add to their tally.

And they paid the price when the Lions of the North equalised in the final minute of the first half, Motsepe heading in the goal after Bevan Fransman had nodded a long throw-in from Rae into his direction.

It got worse six minutes after the break for Baroka as Highlands Park went in front for the first time, thanks to a thumping header from Mvala, who timed his run to perfection to get on the end of a cross from Sabelo Nyembe.

It should, however, have been 2-2 on the hour mark when Rae and his goalkeeper Marlon Heugh lost their cool in the box and the ball fell kindly to Jemondre Dickens, but with an open goal to aim at, albeit it from an angle, he could only shoot into the side-netting.

After that, though, as the game became increasingly physical and peppered with foul play, Baroka battled to create any clear openings.

However, in the final minute of regulation play, the visiting team seemed set to score when Goodman Mosele beat a couple of defenders and then pulled the trigger.

But even though his shot took a deflection, Heugh was on hand to make a brilliant reflex save to deflect the ball away from the danger zone.

With that went Baroka’s last chance, and they could end the weekend in the relegation zone if other results this weekend do not go their way.

African News Agency (ANA)