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Highlands Close-In On Top Eight Spot With Baroka Scalp

Absa Premiership
Result: Highlands Park 2-1 Baroka FC
Date: 9 March 2018
Venue: Makhulong Stadium
 
Highlands Park kept their hopes of finishing in the top eight alive with a 2-1 victory over Baroka FC in an Absa Premiership clash on Saturday afternoon at Makhulong Stadium.
 
The Lions of the North North should have been ahead in the tenth minute after Ryan Rae’s strike from inside the box appeared to have crossed the line before Bakgaga goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze smothered the effort.
 
However, Mduduzi Mdantsane grabbed the lead for Wedson Nyirenda’s charges in the 16th minute with a gliding header at the near post following a corner situation, 0-1.
 
Owen Da Gama’s men were threatening to get the equaliser after the half-hour while the visitors were sitting deep in their own half.
 
Sello Motsepe finally levelled matters for the hosts on the stroke of halftime with a free-header in the centre of the box following a long thrown-in from Rae.
 
The sides were level pegging going to the break.
 
Mothobi Mvala gave the hosts a 2-1 lead seven minutes after halftime with a brilliant header inside the box that found the bottom corner following a cross from Sabelo Nyembe.
 
Jemondre Dickens had a wonderful opportunity to level matters for Baroka on the hour-mark shortly after coming on for Siyabonga Vilane in a tactical change, but he could not punish Highlands after goalkeeper Marlon Heugh made an error that led to him giving an innocuous ball away, hitting the side-netting with the net gaping.
 
Nyirenda’s men had the momentum with 15 minutes remaining but they could not get clear chances as the Lions of the North defence was not giving anything away.
 
The visitors were struggling with the final ball in the closing stages of the half and made it easy for Highlands, who defended well in numbers although Heugh made crucial stops towards the end to clinch a 2-1 win that sees them only two points shy of the top eight position in ninth place with 29 points from 23 matches.
 
Baroka remain in 13th place with 21 points points from the same number of games.
 
Here’s how they lined up:
 
Highlands: 1 Heugh, 5 Fransman, 20 Ramoraka, 21 Mokoena, 34 Motsepe, 24 Rae, 14 Mvala, 40 Mahlangu, 31 Nyembe (Bunting 90+3’), 47 Ndoro (Mbatha 60’), 12 Mogaila (Haoseb 84’).
 
Subs: 30 Peters, 45 Haoseb, 43 Mbatha, 22 Williams, 13 Bunting, 33 Sibande, 3 Shongwe.
 
Baroka: 1 Chipezeze, 2 Kgoetyane, 21 Mongae (Makgaka 60’), 33 Sibiya, 20 Patjie, 14 Mosele, 39 Madigoe, 8 Mdantsane (Mabeba 67’), 36 Semenya, 42 Vilani (Dickens 55’), 3 Gebardt.
 
Subs: 30 Dlamini, 12 Makgaka, 43 Ntswane, 15 Chinyengetere, 28 Dickens, 25 Sodi, 13 Mabeba.
 

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