Highlands start play-offs with a bang

Highlands Park look determined to gain promotion to the Premiership, putting in a clinical performance in their 3-0 win away to Mbombela United.

The capacity home crowd at the picturesque ground outside of Nelspruit were left in silence as Highlands Park drew first blood after just six minutes.

Rudi Isaacs pounced on a loose ball in the box after Mbombela had failed to clear a corner kick, the defender curling the ball into the top corner.

The Lions of the North continued to look dangerous in the opening stages of the game and nearly got lucky with a second goal, but Jose Garcia’s attempted cross brushed off the upright and went out of play.

The final 25 minutes of the first-half belonged very much to Tingwenyama, the home side stepping up their play and attacking in wave after wave.

Highlands ‘keeper, Tapuwa Kapini, had to be on top of his game as he tipped Dingaan Maphosa’s 26th minute free-kick over the bar before a storming run by Siyethemba Mnguni ended with a shot from the edge of the area which rose just over the goal.

Bongani Ndhlovu was to come even closer for the hosts when his 40th-minute shot from 25 yards out curled inches wide of the far post with Kapini a beaten man.

Tingwenyama continued to press for a goal after the break, Kapini having to be on top of his game to keep out Sifiso Thomo’s free-kick on 53 minutes.

But again the Lions of the North were to show their prowess at set-pieces, doubling their lead after 63 minutes when Mothobi Mvala rose strongly in the box to power in a header from a corner kick.

Just 11 minutes later and Mvala repeated his feat, arriving at the back post to head home after a corner had been flicked into his vicinity.

Allan Freese’s side were able to see out the win with ease as they made the perfect start in the first of the 2015/ 16 promotion play-offs.

The next play-off game is on Sunday, May 29, when the University of Pretoria host Mbombela United at the Tuks Stadium.

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