Penalties see Highlands into their first cup final
After 180 minutes without a goal, substitute Mokete Mogaila slotted the decisive kick in the lottery of the penalty shootout and Highlands Park were into their first cup final in the PSL era with a 4-3 spotkicks MTN8 semifinal win against Polokwane City.
The first leg ended 0-0 as something of a sleep-fest. The second leg at Makhulong Stadium on Tuesday night saw the same score after 90 minutes, though it was more testy, while still watchable and fairly engrossing, than poor.
Two teams seeking the history and prestige of a first cup final were both unwilling to go on a charge of the Light Brigade.
The match went straight to penalties, where three Polokwane players choked, and one less from Highlands.
It was an eventful first half, which simmered without catching fire.
At times challenges made a thumping sound that ricocheted across the concrete stands of Makhulong Stadium.
For the first 22 minutes nothing happened. Then a tight encounter opened a little.
Polokwane right winger Walter Musona brought the ball down and struck a volley from a tight angle that forced Thela Ngobeni to dive for a stop.
Almost from the counterattack, at the other end, Peter Shalulile found space on the right and struck the crossbar
Just as the game gained some momentum, it was disrupted by Highlands losing star striker Rodney Ramagalela, stretchered off with what seemed a twisted ankle and replaced by Tendai Ndoro.
The first half was confirmed as symmetrically even when Jabu Maluleke’s free-kick from deep was missed with a header by defender Richard Mbhele, Polokwane centreback Sibusiso Mbonani volleying into the Tembisa night sky.
In the shootout, for Polokwane, Maluleke, Salulani Phiri and Puleng Tlolane were successful. Edgar Manaka saw his kick saved by Ngobeni, then Mohammed Anas lifted high and Mpho Mvelase blasted over.
For Highlands, Ndoro, Mothobi Mvala and Luckyboy Mokoena were successful. Then Mogaila slotted the winner.