Cape Town - Free
State Stars battled back from two goals down as they scored a late
equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw against Highlands Park at the Makhulong
Stadium on Sunday.
The Lions of the North got off to a flying start when Edwin
Sitayitayi fired them in front after just six minutes, before Thapelo
Mathibe extended their lead early in the second half.
But Ea Lla Koto rallied almost immediately by pulling one back
through Thokozani Sekotlong and Armand Ella netted with a free-kick in
stoppage time to earn a share of the spoils.
The visitors were on the attack early on and won a corner in the
second minute of the match, but instead it was Gordon Igesund's side who
opened the scoring four minutes later.
Their first foray upfield saw Franklyn Cale find Sitayitayi, who beat Thela Ngobeni to give the hosts the perfect start.
The Bethlehem outfit looked to respond to the early setback, but
David Booysen failed to test Tapuwa Kapini in the 14th minute with a
shot that drifted to the right of the goal, while Danny Venter saw the
keeper parry his strike midway through the first half and Moeketsi
Sekola missed the target on the rebound.
A header from Zamuxolo Ngalo at the other end from Brandon Theron's
32nd-minute corner didn't trouble Ngobeni and the final real opportunity
before the break saw Venter fire over from a free-kick on 45 minutes.
Booysen had a chance to restore parity five minutes into the second
half, but he steered Sekola's cross wide of the goal, before Nyiko
Mobbie drew a save out of Kapini five minutes later and Thokozani
Sekotlong then dragged his effort to the left of the target.
The Lions of the North looked to have survived that spell of
pressure and they created a couple of chances in quick succession
through Charlton Mashumba, who tested Ngobeni with his second attempt on
the hour mark.
The resulting corner led to their second goal as Mathibe got on the end of Theron's delivery to beat Ngobeni with his header.
However, Sekotlong halved the deficit within two minutes, the striker
finishing off a pass from Venter inside the area, although Mathibe
nearly restored the hosts' two-goal cushion from a free-kick four
minutes later that flew past the right post.
Kapini had to punch away a strike from Venter with 15 minutes left as
Igesund thought he had finally secured his first win at the helm, but
it was not to be as Ella struck from a direct free-kick at the death to
clinch a dramatic point for Giovanni Solinas' men.