Marumo Gallants picked up another precious point in their fight for DStv Premiership survival after coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
Dylan Kerr’s side made the worst possible start when Ashley Du Preez opened the scoring after just six minutes but they drew level through Ranga Chivaviro nine minutes before halftime and nearly completed the comeback win in the second half as Mpho Mvelase struck the frame of the goal.
The Glamour Boys lost ground to Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United in the battle for CAF Champions League football after falling two points behind their rivals in fourth place, with Bahlabane Ba Ntwa climbing off the foot of the table up to 15th position, ahead of Maritzburg United on goal difference.
Amakhosi were targeting a fifth win on the spin to stay in the race for a top-two finish, while Gallants desperately needed a result to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
The hosts got off to a flying start when Du Preez went on a lovely run down the left channel to advance into the box before tucking his shot into the bottom right corner of the net on six minutes.
The winger threatened again moments later with a strike from inside the area that was saved by Washington Arubi and he tested the Zimbabwean goalkeeper once more on 17 minutes, not long after Lucky Mohomi had forced Brandon Petersen into a save with an effort from range at the other end of the pitch.
Lesiba Nku looked to score for the third game in succession when he got off a shot from inside the area on the left that was dealt with by Petersen on 25 minutes but the Chiefs shotstopper was eventually beaten 11 minutes later as Chivaviro squeezed his shot in at the near post from an acute angle on the right.
Yusuf Maart attempted to restore Chiefs’ lead with a shot from range just before halftime, although Arubi was well placed to make a comfortable save, while Petersen pulled off a smart stop to deny Chivaviro from close range three minutes after the restart.
The Limpopo outfit ramped up the pressure on the home goal as the second half progressed, with Celimpilo Ngema drawing a save out of Petersen at his near post from an angle on the left on 64 minutes before Mahlatse Makudubela flashed an effort just wide of the left post from range a minute later.
The woodwork came to the Soweto giants’ rescue on 79 minutes when Mvelase saw his header strike the left post from Ngema’s cross and the right-back went close again moments later as he headed a corner just to the left of the goal.
Dillan Solomons then found himself in an advanced position from a free-kick on 84 minutes but fired narrowly wide of the near post from the right side of the box.
Both keepers were called into action at the death, with Petersen denying Sibusiso Nkosi from range in the 92nd minute, while Arubi was required to save Christian Saile’s strike from range two minutes later.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Du Preez 6′)
Marumo Gallants (1) 1 (Chivaviro 36′)
Kaizer Chiefs: B. Petersen, D. Solomons, S. Ngezana, E. Dove, S. Hlanti, Y. Maart, S. Zwane, A. Du Preez, M. Shabalala, K. Dolly, C. Saile.
Marumo Gallants: W. Arubi, M. Mvelase, T. Gumede, A. Nkili, L. Mabotja, C. Ngema, L. Mohomi, L. Nku, R. Chivaviro, K. Otladisa, L. Koapeng
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