Highlands claim first Absa Prem win

Premiership

Highlands Park secured their first victory of the 2019/20 Absa Premiership season after edging struggling AmaZulu 2-1 on Tuesday evening at Makhulong Stadium.

The Lions of the North made three changes from their stalemate with Black Leopards, as Tendai Ndoro and Lindokuhle Mbatha earned starts. On the other hand, Usuthu were boosted by the return of Ovidy Karuru in the line-up.

Bonginkosi Ntuli came close to breaking the deadlock for Cavin Johnson’s men in the 20th minute after dribbling his way to the box but his threatening shot was parried away by shot-stopper Thela Ngobeni.

The hosts grew in the game towards the half-hour mark, threatening to eventually find the breakthrough but were yet to find clear chances. Ntuli finally broke the deadlock for the visitors five minutes before the break, slotting past Ngobeni from close range.

Highlands found parity in first-half stoppage time as they were awarded a penalty after Peter Shalulile was brought down inside the box. Tendai Ndoro converted the spot-kick to send the sides level pegging into the break.

The second stanza started at a high pace as the Lions of the North took the lead two minutes after the hour mark courtesy of Shalulile’s header inside the box, following a trademark long throw-in from Ryan Rae.

Usuthu were looking to get back to the game with 11 minutes remaining and they made a double change with Talent Chawapiwa coming on in place of Andre de Jong, while Mhlengi Cele replaced Jabulani Ngobeni.

The visitors continued pressurise Highlands in the latter phases in search of the equaliser but the Lions of the North held on for their first league victory, while Usuthu lost for the third time in the league.

Teams:

Highlands: Ngobeni, Mokoena, Munyai, Mbhele, Rae, Williams, Mahlangu, Mbatha, Shalulile, Mvala, Ndoro.

Subs: Etafia, Mogaila, Jooste, Mbunjana, Msane, Nyembe, Mkhabela.

AmaZulu: Boshoff, Sikhakhane, M.Gumede, Xoki, T.Gumede, Vilakazi, Sithebe, Karuru, Ncobeni, De Jong, Ntuli.

Subs: Josephs, P.Gumede, Modisakeng, Madela, Darpoh, Chawaphiwa, Cele.

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