Royal AM and Marumo Gallants recorded a 2-2 draw in the DStv Premiership on Sunday afternoon, with Ricardo Nascimento rescuing a point for his side in the dying moments of the game at the Chatsworth Stadium.
The game got off to a flying start with both teams utilising their pace in chasing the ball down in their respective halves. With five minutes on the clock, Royal AM edged Marumo in the ball possession statistics.
However, Gallants applied pressure on the break and managed to string purposeful passes together. The visiting side produced the first shot at goal, with Sede Dion’s well-struck effort forced Xolani Ngcobo into making a save.
In a moment that caught Royal AM off guard, Gallants took the lead after 15 minutes courtesy of a clever toe poke by Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo on the edge of the penalty area. A visibly upset Dan Malesela barked instructions on the touchline as the Limpopo-based side took control of the game.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Marumo troubled the Royal AM defence, particularly on the left-hand flank and kept their foot on the accelerator pedal in search of another goal.
As the first half drew to a close, Royal AM dominated possession and continued to seek for an equaliser. Their pressure paid off on the stroke of halftime as veteran striker Lesvin Stoffels pulled one back for the home side with a calm finish inside the area.
Gallants took the lead soon after the halftime break as Dion latched onto a pin-point cross by Celimpilo Ngema with a glancing header inside the Royal AM box.
With an hour of football played, Royal AM often found themselves on the back foot with Marumo applying the pressure. Thwihli Thwahla looked flat going forward and struggled to infiltrate the Gallants back line.
Momentum swung in Royal AM’s favour when Dan Malesela introduced Ruzaigh Gamildien and Andre de Jong to the fold with 15 minutes to go. The home side looked more adventurous with the long ball into the area
With five minutes to go, Mxolisi Machupu was afforded a golden opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet with a miscued header from close range despite being uncontested by an opposition defender.
In a swift attacking move that began inside the Royal AM box, Mfundo Thikazi chased a looping ball into the Gallants half and proceeded to attack the penalty area. The second-half substitute then unleashed a shot that was saved by the goalkeeper however, Ricardo Nascimento found himself in the right place at the right time to rescue a point for his side in the 92nd minute.
Royal AM (1) 2 (Stoffels 45’, Nascimento 92’)
Marumo Gallants (1) 2 (Ndlondlo 15’, Dion 52′)
Royal AM:Ngcobo, Mogaila, Manganyi, Nascimento, Matlaba, Msomi (Gamildien 73’), Phalane, Mzila (Thikazi 46’), Ndlovu (Ncobeni 46’), Stoffels (Machupu 73’), Potsane (de Jong 73’)
Marumo Gallants: Arubi, Mabotja, Gumede, Hlatshwayo, Khiba, Yidah (Kumalo 67’), Otladisha (Mokgope 80’), Ngema (Manaka 75’), Ndlondlo, Sibeko (Makudubela 46’), Junior Dion (Chivaviro 75’)