Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) picked up their first points of the PSL promotion-relegation playoffs with a 2-1 win over Royal Eagles at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday.
Eagles and TTM have now each been involved in three of their four play-off matches, and both have three points.
Maritzburg United, who face Eagles in Chatsworth next Wednesday, are now very much in the driving seat to win the playoffs, thanks to their six points from two fixtures.
For the Durban side, it was a horrendous start to the match in Thohoyandou as two errors within the opening four minutes were both punished to maximum effect by the hosts.
With just two minutes on the clock, some sloppy play at the back from Eagles resulted in Wonderboy Makhubu picking up the ball, powering past two defenders into the box and then finishing with a composed shot into the bottom corner.
A minute later and a near identical mistake in the defence resulted in Onyedikachi Ononogbu playing in Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, who smashed in a superb 20-yard effort just inside the post.
Yet another mistake from Eagles handed TTM a free kick shortly afterwards, and Ononogbu was inches wide from finding the net.
Gradually, the KZN side began to play themselves back into the match and home keeper Tshepo Ramaele did well to keep out a Diego Brown free kick midway through the stanza.
Ramaele also made an excellent block to keep out Brown from close range in the 35th minute, before saving another free kick from the same player.
Royal Eagles kept the pressure on just before the interval and had the ball in the net through Levy Mashiane’s header, but it was correctly called offsides.
There was no denying the visitors two minutes after the break, however, as Lesvin Stoffels whipped in a dangerous cross which was emphatically headed into the bottom corner by Mashiane.
Eagles remained on the front foot, but the Limpopo side were able to compose themselves in order to nullify the threat.
When the next chances did arrive, they fell to TTM with 20 minutes to play, but they were unable to add a third goal as Thembisani Nevhulambi’s powerful drive was saved by Patrick Nyame, before Makhubu put a shot over the bar.
It was then Eagles’ turn to attack again as Sonke Ntuli fired a shot over goal before Ramaele kept out an 83rd minute free kick from Strydom Wambi before bravely diving at the feet of Nkosivumile Zulu, who had come storming in to try and get onto the rebound.
The visitors continued to push for a late equaliser, but TTM were able to manage the final moments of the game well to see out the win without too many issues.
African News Agency (ANA)