Royal Eagles survived a second-half fightback to edge Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila 1-0 in the first game of the 2018-19 NFD promotion/relegation playoffs at the Chatsworth Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Eagles came into the game after just missing out on the NFD title and automatic promotion by a mere three points.
TTM, on the other hand, qualified for the second playoff spot by just one goal after finishing level on points with Ajax Cape Town.
Both teams started with an attacking intent, looking to get off to a fast start, but both sides were restricted to long-range efforts in the opening 20 minutes.
The home side then took the lead with 22 minutes gone when an in-swinging corner found Mbulelo Wambi at the front post, who expertly guided his header into the back of the net.
The away side looked to respond and forced Patrick Nyame into his first save of the afternoon as Mbandlwa hit the target with a shot in the 25th minute.
1-0 at the break, with the home side by no means having a comfortable afternoon.
TTM came out fighting in the second half, though, as Nyame was proving to be in fine form on the day when he first produced a stunning flying save in the 71st minute to keep out Mnqele’s curling effort from 10 yards outside the area.
The chances were going TTM’s way as Nyame had to react quickly to top over Phumelele Bhengu’s shot from a tight angle in the 78th minute. From the resulting corner the home side almost conceded an equaliser, but Happy Mashau’s glancing header was cleared off the line.
As TTM continued to throw the kitchen sink at their opponents, the Eagles had the perfect chance to wrap up the result when Diego Brown went through one-on-one after a counter, but he steered his shot just wide.
At the end TTM just couldn’t find away to breach the Eagle defence. They have now gone top of the playoffs table after picking up all three points from their first home game.
You may also like