Johannesburg - Highlands Park's stay in the top flight lasted only a single
season after they were condemned to relegation after a 2-2 draw with Mamelodi
Sundowns at the Makhulong Stadium on Saturday.
Sundowns enjoyed the better of the opening 40 minutes, but
after that it was an evenly balanced and tight contest, with the home side
wasting a couple of second half chances before finally netting in added time.
They would however have needed to win the match to avoid outright relegation.
The home side spent much of the opening 20 minutes camped
out in their own half, working hard to ensure that Sundowns were not able to
create any clear-cut chances despite enjoying plenty of the ball.
While Highlands Park offered little threat of their own
going forward, they seemed to be comfortably keeping the opposition away from
But that didn't matter to Themba Zwane, who put Downs ahead
in spectacular fashion when he curled a long-range shot into the top corner.
The visitors doubled their lead just a few minutes later when
Thabo Nthethe converted coolly from the spot after Highlands keeper Tapuwa
Kapini was adjudged to have fouled Yannick Zakri in the box.
However, the Lions of the North quickly put themselves back
in the game when Seun Ledwaba ran through on goal and scored with a shot from a
tight angle on the left.
There was a fortunate escape for the hosts just after the
break when the ball hit the post and then Kapini came to the rescue when a goal
seemed on the cards, while at the other end of the park, Mothibi Mvalo fired
wide of an empty goal after Denis Onyango had rushed off his line.
More opportunities arrived for Highlands, but Franklyn Cale
was twice kept out by Onyango as time began to run out for the home team.
In the 83rd minute Mvalo had an almost identical opportunity
to his earlier one, but again missed the target with the goalkeeper stranded.
Mvala finally succeeded when he converted deep in added time
with a well-placed header, but there the goal proved scant consolation due to
Baroka FC's 1-0 win over Ajax in Cape Town.