THANDA Royal Zulu played themselves right back into contention for promotion when they came from behind to beat Santos 2-1 at Athlone on Saturday night.
Santos and Thanda now both have four points, while Chippa, who have played a game less, have two points.
The opening stages of the game saw Santos keeper Pa Demba Touray regularly occupying a position 30 metres clear of his goal-line as he watched his team enjoy a territorial advantage.
The home side showed good energy and purpose, but could not however find a way to penetrate the Thanda defence in telling positions.
But after 17 minutes the pressure from the Peoples’ Team yielded dividends when Nasief Morris climbed well at a corner kick to head home Erwin Isaacs’ delivery.
The visiting side did not allow the goal to let them become too despondent, but for all their pushing and probing in the centre of the park, the KZN side failed to find a cutting edge closer to the Santos box.
Five minutes before the break Armogam did well to send Isaacs in on goal, but his first touch was slightly too heavy and Nhlanhla Khuzwayo moved off his line quickly to intercept.
At the other end Touray pulled off a fantastic save, using the full length of his body to tip Peter Ndwadike’s excellent 30-yarder over the bar.
The Cape side had the first chance after the break, with Khuzwayo doing really well to get the faintest of touches in order to tip Eleazar Rodgers’ 16-yard shot onto the bar.
But it was at the other end that the next goal was to come, which saw Thanda skipper Asanda Mvalo powering home an unstoppable header, following Omar Hendricks’ curling free kick in the 52nd minute.
Five minutes later the team from Richards Bay was ahead for the first time on the night when Edwin Sitayitayi ran in to head home a cross from Nkosinathi Ogle.
Santos looked to try and play themselves back into the game and with 20 minutes to go TRZ survived two moments in their own box when the ball was deflected just wide of goal.
With 10 minutes to go Nwadike should have extended Thanda’s lead, but he headed straight at Touray from only eight yards.
Both sides had potential chances to alter the score-line, but when the final whistle blew it was Thanda who were celebrating the crucial three points on offer.-www.psl.co.za