Kaizer Chiefs won a five-goal thriller against Highlands Park at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening.
The 3-2 victory, secured by goals from Bernard Parker, Leonardo Castro and Dumisani Zuma, sees the Amakhosi move up to fifth place on the Absa Premiership log, while the Lions of the North remain in ninth spot.
Highlands created the first chance of the match, with a seventh-minute free kick seeing Ryan Rae heading on target, though his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
On 13 minutes the Lions of the North threatened again, with Siphiwe Mahlangu seeing a goal-bound shot blocked by Daniel Cardoso, before the loose ball was sent just wide of the target by Lindokuhle Mbatha.
Chiefs soon settled into the game and began to build pressure in and around the visitors’ penalty area, but they were almost caught cold on the break on 35 minutes when Sabelo Nyembe sent a low shot from a tight angle wide of the mark.
The half looked sent to end 0-0, but two goals arrived in quick succession. First, on 39 minutes, Bernard Parker swept home a low, left-footed effort after good set-up play from Hendrick Ekstein and Leonardo Castro, giving the Amakhosi a 1-0 lead.
However, their advantage lasted just over a minute, with Highlands hitting back almost immediately. A long throw-in from Ryan Rae was poorly dealt with by the Chiefs defence and Bevan Fransman sent a looping beyond the reach of Daniel Akpeyi to make it 1-1.
The Soweto giants made a tactical change at the start of the second half, bringing on left wingback Siphosakhe Ntiyantiya for Teenage Hadebe, and the substitute made a quick impact, providing an excellent low cross on 49 minutes which was turned home by Castro to put Chiefs back in the lead at 2-1.
Chiefs made it 3-1 with 20 minutes of regulation time remaining, with Dumisani Zuma capitalising on a lucky bounce off a defender before providing a fine finish past goalkeeper Marlon Heugh to put daylight between the teams.
Yet Highlands hit back in the 77th minute, with Lesenya Ramoraka latching onto a poor clearance from Daniel Cardoso before sending a left-footed effort into the back of the net – one Akpeyi will feel he could and should have kept out.
Chiefs were able to see out the remainder of the game and secure a valuable three-point haul, while Highlands will feel their spirited performance was not fully rewarded.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 3 (Parker 39’, Castro 49’, Zuma 71’)
Highlands Park (1) 2 (Fransman 41’, Ramoraka 77’)
Kaizer Chiefs: Akpeyi, Moleko, Cardoso, Hadebe (Ntiyantiya 46’), Mphahlele, Maluleka, Ekstein, Zulu, Zuma (Booysen 89’), Castro, Parker (Andrianarimanana 62’)
Highlands Park: Heugh, L. Mokoena, Msimango (Ndoro 73’), Fransman, Ramoraka, Mbatha (Mogaila 55’), Rae, Mvala, Mahlangu, Mbunjana (Haoseb 68’), Nyembe