Highlands finish in the top-eight

Puleng Tlolane © Gallo Images

Highlands Park secured a top-eight finish in the Absa Premiership when they defeated SuperSport United 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

The result saw the Lions of the North end seventh on the log, while Matsatsantsa one position ahead of them – both teams will play in the MTN8 in 2019/20.

United enjoyed early dominance and pushed for the opening goal through the likes of Mxolisi Machupu and Aubrey Modiba.

Yet the Highlands defence stood firm, with goalkeeper Marlon Heugh proving an able final barrier whenever the hosts managed to get past Bevan Fransman and company in the visitors’ backline.

SuperSport also looked threatening from set pieces, with Teboho Mokoena and Aubrey Modiba both shooting just off target from free kicks, but the first half ended with the score still locked at 0-0.

Matsatsantsa made a change at the start of the second half, introducing veteran midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane off the bench to replace youngster Jamie Webber, yet it was Highlands who broke the deadlock, with Peter Shalulile turning home Luckyboy Mokoena’s assist in the 50th minute.

The Lions of the North were dealt a blow just past the midway point of the second half when captain Fransman suffered a game-ending injury and was replaced in defence by Junior Sibande.

United responded to this by sending on attackers Kamohelo Mahlatsi and Thabo Mnyamane in an effort to get back into the contest, but they were unable to assert themselves on the game.

Instead Highlands doubled their lead in the 81st minute, with veteran winger Lindokuhle Mbatha scoring direct from a free kick to make it 2-0 in favour of the away side and securing all three points on the final day of the season.

SuperSport United 0

Highlands Park (0) 2 (Shalulile 50’, Mbatha 81’)

SuperSport: Williams, Kekana, Khumalo, Daniels, Bhasera (Mnyamane 74’), Lungu (Mahlatsi 74’), Mokoena, Webber (Letsholonyane 46’), Modiba, Rusike, Machupu

Highlands: Heugh, L. Mokoena, Fransman (Sibande 73’), Mkhabela, Ramoraka, Mbatha, Shongwe (Mbunjana 87’), Williams, Mahlangu, Nyembe (Mogaila 77’), Shalulile