Matlaba hands Leopards late win

Thabo Matlaba © Backpagepix

Black Leopards secured a 2-1 win over Stellenbosch FC in an Absa Premiership match at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The result left Lidoda Duvha and Stellies placed 15th, and 11th respectively on the league standings.

Stellies were brimming with confidence as they had won three matches in a row in the league and they did most of the attacking in the opening stages.

However, Lidoda Duvha did well to contain the likes of Iqraam Rayners and Wassem Isaacs, who were looking to hit the back of the net.

Leopards improved as the match progressed and Mogakolodi Ngele forced Stellenbosch goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt into a great low save.

The hosts were awarded a penalty when Rayners was adjudged to have handled the ball into the box from Botswana international Ngele's free-kick.

Last season's Absa Premiership Golden Boot winner Mwape Musonda then stepped up and converted from the spot-kick to make it 1-0 to Leopards in the 36th minute.

Leopards were leading 1-0 during the halftime break having contained Stellenbosch in the first-half.

Lidoda Duvha continued to attack after the restart as they looked to double their lead against Stellies, but they were wasteful in front of goal.

Musonda headed wide of the target from close range from Pentjie Zulu's cross, before Lesedi Kapinga curled his effort just over the crossbar.

Lelethu Skelem, who is an attack-minded player, was introduced by Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker as the visitors looked to restore parity after the hour mark.

The visitors then upped the tempo and Leopards keeper Jonas Mendes had to produce a great save to deny Mpho Matsi in the closing stages of the match.

However, the Guinea-Bissau international was beaten by Ryan Moon to make it 1-1 in the 79th minute after the hosts had failed to clear their lines.

Thabo Matlaba had other ideas as the versatile player netted with a thunderous effort to seal Leopards' 2-1 win over Stellenbosch in the 85th minute.

Leopards (1) 2 (Musonda 36', Matlaba 85')

Stellenbosch (0) 1 (Moon 79')

Leopards: Mendes, Mudau, Zulu, Masia, Gyimah, Abubakar, Bereng (Ng'ambi 82), Matlaba, Ngele (Hlongwane 65'), Musonda (Mncwango 71'), Kapinga.

Stellenbosch: Langeveldt, Mobbie, Ndlovu, Mthethwa, Robertson, Scott (Bergman 86'), Matsi, Karuru, Rayners (Moroole 86'), Moon, Isaacs (Skelem 62').