Royal AM come from two goals down to rescue a point against Marumo Gallants
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Johannesburg – A goal from Sedwyn George right at death ensured that rookies Royal AM salvaged a point during their 2-2 draw with Marumo Gallants in a DStv Premiership clash at a cold New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
With this draw, Gallants remained 15th on the standings, while Royal AM’s purple patch continued as they moved to third. The former may have led twice, scoring in second half, at home but the visitors were arguably the better side.
Having made headlines for controversial reasons lately, Royal AM’s president Shaun Mkhize and her crew left the stadium as the happy camp as they watched their team from the stands, albeit dropping points for the first time since August.
However, it was a disappointing outing for Gallants who recently parted ways with coach Sebastian Migne for insubordination. Interim coach Mpho Maleka will be eager to take over the reins on a full-time basis but he’s got to win games.
The two teams came into this encounter on the back of contrasting results, having Royal AM win their last match against Maritzburg United in the Pietermaritzburg derby, while Gallants was beaten by Golden Arrows away from home.
Those results saw Royal AM climb up to fourth on the standings, while Gallants drifted further into the relegation quagmire as they are yet to register a win this season. But strangely enough they’ve been on song on the continent.
On Friday night they defeated AS Vita 2-1 in the first leg of the second-round preliminary qualifiers in the Confederation Cup to keep their chances of qualifying for the group stage alive. But there'll still be the third round to get through.
Gallants, though, started well at home against Royal AM, exerting the most pressure. But Royal AM kept their lines, parrying away the danger. Katlego Oltadisa’s ambitious long-range strike was saved by keeper Patrick Nyame early on.
But the home side didn’t drop their heads as they continued to dominate possession. However, a disappointing first touch from striker Victor Letsoalo in front of goal saw Gallants survive from conceding by the skin of their teeth early on.
Letsoalo, though, nearly made up for that miss. A nicely weighted through from the midfield found an onrushing Letsoalo who controlled delightfully before hitting a thunderbolt that goalie Washington Arubi parried back into play.
But Royal AM were unfortunate not to go into the break ahead as wing-back Zukile Mkhize rattled his effort against the upright in the dying stages of the half. That must have been disappointing for the highest scoring team in the league.
Gallants, though, found the breakthrough early in the second stanza. After an assist from the by-line, Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo controlled in between the host of defenders before his shot that took a deflection, beating a crawling Nyame in goal.
Levy Mashiane should have equalised for his side after a one-on-one duel with Arubi. But he put his shot wide. Leitsie Koapeng punished them for the miss with a delightful curling effort but Letsoalo cut the deficit from the spot and George scored late.