Cape Town - There was no separating Black Leopards
and Highlands Park on Saturday as they played to a 1-1 draw in their Absa Premiership clash at Thohoyandou Stadium.
The visitors opened their account a few minutes before the half-time
break thanks to Sphiwe Mahlangu, but the Lions of North rallied in the second stanza, drawing level through Lesedi Kapinga's powerful
shot on 51 minutes.
Leopards started the match on the front foot and went close to
grabbing the lead in the 11th minute as Kapinga saw his shot from the
edge of the box brilliantly tipped wide by goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni.
Highlands Park were content to sit back and soak up the pressure as
the half wore on, with a view to hitting their opponents on the break.
And their approach paid off handsomely as the went on to claim the
lead in the 42nd minute, Mahlangu heading home from close range after
the defence failed to clear Ryan Rae's long throw-in.
It didn't take too long for Leopards to post response after the
half-time interval, with Ngobeni unable
to keep out Kapinga's stinging shot despite getting a hand to the ball.
Leopards kept pressing forward as they went in search of a winner and
very nearly got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 75th
minute when Themba Ndlovu headed agonisingly wide at the near post.
The sustained pressure almost took its toll on Ngobeni in the 80th
minute, but he recovered brilliantly to deny Ndlovu what looked to be a
certain goal after kicking the ball into the back of a team-mate.
But that was the last chance of note as the Lions of the North held
firm in the last few minutes to claim a valuable point away from home.