Cape Town - Bidvest Wits are back on top of the Absa Premiership after claiming a 2-2 draw with Highlands Park at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Clever Boys were forced to fight for the result, recovering from both the concession of the opening goal and a red card for defender S’fiso Hlanti inside the first half.
Wits looked the more dangerous team in the opening minutes and forward Frank Mhango had two early chances – the first was well saved by Highlands goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini, while the second flashed just wide of the target.
Highlands’ first shot in anger arrived in the 10th minute, with Edwin Sitayitayi getting on the end of a cross from Franklin Cale and directing an effort on target, but Wits’ gloves-man Darren Keet parried the ball away to safety.
Midway through the first half the visitors were awarded a penalty after Buhle Mkhwanazi fouled Sitayitayi in the box. Thanduyise Khuboni took on the spot kick and beat Keet to hand Highlands a surprise lead.
It was almost 2-0 to the Lions of the North in the 37th minute, with veteran striker Collins Mbesuma getting the better of Keet, only to see the ball rebound off the woodwork and away to safety.
Wits took advantage to claim an equaliser in the 41st minute, with Elias Pelembe providing a right-foot finish from Thulani Hlatshwayo’s cross to make it 1-1.
Yet the Clever Boys soon suffered a major blow when defender S’fiso Hlanti was shown a straight red card for a foul on Sitayitayi, reducing them to 10 men with more than half of the match still to play.
Wits showed their character once they were numerically disadvantaged and even claimed the lead for the first time midway through the second half, with Mkhwanazi redeeming himself for conceding the penalty by turning home Nazeer Allie’s cross to make it 2-1.
The defender’s goal looked likely to be the difference between the teams, but the Lions of the North salvaged a draw when Mothobi Mvala equalised deep in injury time to see the game finish 2-2.