FILE - Highlands Park's Ricardo Williams scored in injury time as they beat Baroka FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

POLOKWANE – Highlands Park continued their superb run of form with a 2-1 Absa Premiership victory over Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In a game which was tight and space at a premium, both sides battled to get into any sort of rhythm. Baroka and Highlands were compact and kept their shape, and it was difficult to break down the defensive lines set up by the coaches of the two teams.

It was going to need something special to separate the teams and that something special proved to be Highlands striker Peter Shalulile, who scored both his team’s goals.

Highlands got into gear early on and it was particularly Shalulile who troubled the Baroka defence.

As early as the fifth minute, the striker had an opportunity, but steered his shot wide of goal. He had another chance a minute later, but this time his effort was easily dealt with by Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.

The visitors from Tembisa continued to press, with Mothobi Mvala heading wide, Lindokuhle Mbatha skewing a shot wide and Mokete Mogaila also failing to make the most of the opening that came his way.

At the other end, Phelelani Shozi fired an attempt wide for Baroka, while Tshidiso Patjie made his presence felt with some good runs and crosses.

Highlands finished the first half the stronger and created two more possibilities, but both Mbatha and Marks Munyai couldn’t find the target with their attempts at goal.

Early in the second half, both teams made a change, with Baroka’s Collins Makgaka replacing Leonard Tisdell and, for Highlands, Bevan Fransman came on for the injured Richard Mbhele.

Shalulile continued to be the livewire for Highlands and it was, therefore, no surprise that he was the player to break the deadlock when he scored in the 64th minute.

Baroka had no choice but to go for broke in search of an equaliser and they made their final two substitutions, with Isaac Selemela replacing Mduduzi Mdatsane, and Jemondre Dickens coming on for Gerald Phiri Junior.

But Highlands forged ahead as Shalulile netted his second goal of the match.

In the 77th minute, Baroka pulled one back to make the score 2-1 courtesy of a goal from substitute Makgaka to set up a tense finale to the game.

Highlands, however, were able to keep Baroka out in the closing stages and hang on for the win.

African News Agency (ANA)