Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila fought back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Cape Town City in a DStv Premiership clash at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Citizens looked on course for all three points when they established an early 2-0 advantage via a brace from Fagrie Lakay, but Vhadau Vha Damani struck back through Meshack Mapangule and substitute Thembisani Nevhulamba to claim a share of the spoils.
The result sees the Cape side in fourth place, eight points adrift of league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, while TTM rise to 10th – a further seven points back.
City started strongly and claimed the lead as early as the seventh minute: high pressing up the field saw Mduduzi Mdantsane steal possession and set up Lakay, who showed great class and composure in slotting the ball beyond Tshakhuma goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
Lakay got himself a second goal in the 20th minute, expertly tucking home a fine cross from Bradley Ralani as the Citizens ran riot in the opening quarter of the match.
TTM looked in danger of being overrun, but they were given a lifeline back into the game midway through the first half when Abbubaker Mobara tripped up Meshack Maphangule in the 18-yard area. The fouled player took the penalty himself and reduced the deficit in the 23rd minute.
The Cape side suffered an injury blow in the first half which saw Mobara limp off to be replaced by Zukile Kewuti, while they also came close to a third goal in injury time before the interval when Mdantsane saw his effort shave the outside of the post.
The first chance of the second half went the way of Vhadau Vha Damani, with Rhulani Manzini’s shot direct from a free kick stinging the palms of City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh in the 57th minute.
However, TTM’s lead striker soon succumbed to injury, being replaced by Thembisani Nevhulamba just before the hour mark, while Diamond Thopola also came off the bench in the stead of veteran Joseph Malongoane.
The changes paid dividends for the Thohoyandou hosts, with Nevhulamba using his fresh legs to bring the game level at 2-2 midway through the second half, providing a fine finish past Leeuwenbugh.
City made changes of their own, putting on Charles Zulu and Keanu Cupido to freshen up their side. The latter defender nearly had an impressive attacking impact when he got on the end of a corner kick from Ralani in the 85th minute, but he put his header over the crossbar in the last notable chance of the game.
Tshakhuma will be back in DStv Premiership action this coming midweek, with a match at home to Orlando Pirates on Wednesday, January 13, while City’s next match is at home to Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, January 16.
Tshakhuma TM (1) 2 (Maphangule 23’ pen, Nevhulamba 67’)
Cape Town City (2) 2 (Lakay 7’ 20’)
TTM: Arubi, Lukhubeni, Mabotja, Ndengane, Manaka, Rakhale, Thangwane, Malongoane (Thopola 60’), Maphangule (Ndlondlo 79’), Ngema, Manzini (Nevhulamba 59’)
City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhize (Cupido 77’), Fielies, Potouridis, Mashego, Mokeke, Mobara (Kewuti 35’), Mdantsane, Ralani, Lakay (Zulu 69’), Roberts.