oyal edge Richards Bay in five-goal thriller

Royal AM claimed a 3-2 win over their KwaZulu-Natal rivals Richards Bay in a DStv Premiership match played at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday afternoon.

The win elevated Thwihli Thwahla to the 12th spot on the league standings and they will be looking to make it three victories in a row when they host Moroka Swallows at the same venue on 23 December.

Richards Bay, on the other hand, remained in the relegation playoff spot (15th) and they will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Kaizer Chiefs away on 23 December.

It took only five minutes for Mxolisi Macuphu to hand Royal a 1-0 lead with a decent finish. The goal rattled the Natal Rich Boys' defence and they conceded again two minutes later - this time Macuphu set up Thabo Matlaba who made it 2-0 to Royal.

Macuphu was a constant threat to Richards Bay's defence and he completed his brace in the 34th minute to hand Royal a 3-0 lead. However, Richard Bay fought back and pulled one back through Matlaba's own-goal to make it 3-1 in the 36th minute.

Thwihli Thwahla then went to sleep at the back again in stoppage time which allowed the speedy Sanele Barns to score - making 3-2 heading into the halftime break following a very entertaining first-half in Pietermaritzburg.

A relatively quiet second-half followed with both teams creating few goalscoring opportunities. The Simphiwe Mcineka had a chance to level matters in the 65th minute, but he was denied by keeper Hugo Nyame, and ultimately, Royal emerged as 3-2 winners.

Royal (3) 3 (Macuphu 5' 34', Matlaba 7')

Richards (2) 2 (Matlaba 36', Barns 45'+2)

Royal AM: Nyame, Mahlasela, Manganyi, Mogaila, Masuku (Mabuza 86'), Matlaba, Jiyane, Dlamini, Shezi (Thikazi 65'), Macuphu (Gamildien 83'), Msomi (Magaqa 65').

Richards Bay XI: Mabokgwane, Ndaba, Mabuya, Sb Mthethwa, Mcineka, Komane (Mabaso 40'), Barns, Mhlongo (Mohomi 79'), Ntsundwana (Mngomezulu 72'), Mbuthuma (Makateng 80'), Gumede (Figuareido 82').