Black Leopards keep PSL promotion hopes alive

A brace from Mwape Musonda ensured Black Leopards remained in the driving seat of the Premier Soccer League/National First Division playoffs when they drew 2-2 against Platinum Stars at Moruleng Stadium on Saturday night.

The stalemate sees Stars remain placed third with two points from three matches after a loss and two draws, whilst Leopards sit at the summit with five points.

For the hosts, two goals through Letsie Koapeng gave them some hope, but they failed to hold on for a win.

In an electrifying start in Phokeng, Dikwena created the chances and a wonderful opportunity fell for Koapeng in the 11th minute.

The forward received a great ball in the penalty area, yet could not control his volley and saw it sailing over the crossbar.

It took a brilliant save from Dino Visser in the 20th minute to deny Meshack Maphangule from the edge of the area, the former Leopards net minder punched the ball away from danger.

However, Stars broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute through Koapeng. After a brilliant throw in from Vuyo Mere into the box, Gerald Phiri’s header landed in the striker’s path before unleashing a powerful shot to beat Tyson Muleka in the roof of the net.

It was 1-0 at half time in favour of the hosts.

The visitors had a bright start in the second stanza and Visser was beaten by a world class goal from Mwape Musonda, whose acrobatic kick made it 1-1 in the 51st minute from Meshack Maphangule’s assist.

The hosts were dealt a massive blow in the 61st minute when Nyiko Tshabangu was shown his second yellow card to reduce the hosts to 10 men.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Stars continued to hustle and fight for the ball, yet they failed to break down Leopards’ defence.

The encounter had sparks towards the final 10 minutes and Koapeng came close to bagging his brace when his shot was swallowed by Muleka.

Musonda ran riot in the Leopards final third and was unfortunate to miss when his well-taken shot hit the crossbar as Visser was beaten in the 81st minute – a brilliant pass from Mhlongo to split Stars’ defence.

However, the hosts showed their superiority with Koapeng making it 2-1 when Jean Munganga left him alone after a great lay-off from Vuyo Mere.

As if it was over for the visitors, Musonda completed his brace with three minutes to go when Stars failed to clear their lines. The Zambian striker pounced on the loose ball to beat Visser on his left corner.

Platinum Stars: (1) 2 (Koapeng 22’, 84’)
Black Leopards: (0) 2 (Musonda 51’, 87’)

Stars: Visser, Mkhabela, Mere, Sithole, Mlilo, Mekoa (Senne 90’), De Jongh, Norodien, Phiri (Ntuli 63’), Tshabangu, Koapeng

Leopards: Muleka, Munyai, Munganga, Masia, Mashoene, Tshepe, Nange, Mudau (Mhhlongo 59’), Nene, Maphangule, Musonda.