Free State Stars were held to a 2-2 draw with Cape Town City in a pulsating Premiership clash at Goble Park on Wednesday night.
Matthew Rusike netted with just five minutes on the clock as he pounced from close range, but Stars were back in the tie when Bangaly Keita slotted in before Goodman Dlamini’s super finish put the home side ahead.
But a deflected effort from Craig Martin meant that both sides shared the spoils in what was a fiercely contested encounter.
Stars had started brightly but conceded early as Roland Putsche reacted quickest to an Ayanda Patosi free-kick from the right hand side. Olivier Kwizera was unable to claim the delivery, leaving Matthew Rusike to slot home.
Luc Eymael’s charges responded well with Sinethemba Jantjie firing a powerful ball across the face of the City goal before Judas Moseamedi came close to an equaliser with a shot from inside the area from a good Jantjie cut-back that Peter Leeuwenburgh was able to collect.
Craig Martin was wide with a near-post header from the right from a Keanu Cupido delivery before the City striker cleared a Moseamedi header just in front of his goalkeeper from a 22nd minute corner.
Goodman Dlamini then fired just over the City goal after bringing the ball down well as Leeuwenburgh punched clear a free-kick, before the City stopper made a sensational save to keep out a drilled effort from Makhehlene Makhaula from 25 yards out.
Kwizera made a stunning stop to deny Patosi from extending City’s lead as he curled in from the left hand side as Dlamini forced Leeuwenburgh into a low save at the other end.
But Stars were level when Keita pounced inside the six-yard area to slot home after Paulus Masehe had flicked on a Jantjie corner from the right-hand side.
Dlamini then proved his quality with a fine curled finish just five minutes later to completely turn this tie on its head.
As Stars continued to attack, a 73rd minute corner from Jantjie was cleared off the goalline by the City keeper before Jantjie so nearly picked out Moseamedi from another quality delivery.
Rusike fired over on the turn as City looked for a way back into the match while a Dlamini delivery from the left was inches away from sneaking in at the far post.
But with virtually the last kick of the game, Martin picked up the ball outside the box and fired in a speculative shot that inadverly deflected onto the crossbar and off of Kwizera and into the back of the net, meaning that both sides walked away with a hard-fought point.