SuperSport United and Highlands Park brought the Absa Premiership to a conclusion for 2018 with a 1-1 draw at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Sunday.
In a match affected by a lightning storm, Aubrey Modiba’s opener just before halftime was cancelled out early in the second half by the league’s leading scorer, Mothobi Mvala.
The result saw Matsatsantsa move up to third place on the log with 23 points from 15 matches, while the Lions of the North are up to eighth with 20 points from the same number of outings.
The first chance of the match went the way of Highlands in the sixth minute, with a low cross from the right flank finding Peter Shalulile unmarked in the penalty area, but the Namibian ballooned his shot high and wide of the mark.
The teams gradually settled into a rhythm, but the pace of the game was very much on the slow side – no surprise considering the fearsome heat in Tembisa which called for a water break in the first half.
Highlands hit the woodwork late in the half through Shalulile, but the forward had been flagged offside in what was one of the few promising attacking moves from either team in the first 45 minutes.
Yet in injury time before the interval, United claimed the lead almost out of nowhere. Teboho Mokoena and Evans Rusike teed up Modiba, who fired home a low shot from a tight angle to send the visitors into the tunnel with a 1-0 advantage.
The match was suspended due to inclement weather before the second half could get under way, with the action only resuming approximately one hour after the halftime whistle was blown.
Highlands made two changes at the start of the second half, sending on Ryan Rae and Siphiwe Mahlangu. Their attacking intent was immediately evident and brought an equaliser in the 47th minute when Mothobi Mvala got ahead of his marker to nod home Lindokuhle Mbatha’s cross.
The Lions of the North were energised by their comeback (and the cooler weather following the rainstorm) but they were unable to really test Ronwen Williams, while Matsatsantsa’s attack lacked fluency and cohesion. In the end, both sides settled for a point.
The teams will return to Absa Premiership action on January 5 in the New Year, with Highlands at home to Orlando Pirates and SuperSport playing host to Cape Town City.
Highlands Park (0) 1 (Mvala 47’)
SuperSport United (1) 1 (Modiba 45+1’)
Highlands: Kapini, Sibande, Mokoena, Versuur, Motsepe (Rae 46’), Mbatha, Mbunjana (Mahlangu 46’), Msimango, Mvala, Shalulile, Sekola (Mogaila 70’)
SuperSport: Williams, Kekana, Khumalo, Daniels, Bhasera, Mbule (Letsholonyane 72’), Ntshangase, Mokoena, Modiba, Rusike, Keene