Leopards save themselves with victory over City

Pentjiie Zulu © Gallo Images

Black Leopards defeated Cape Town City 1-0 at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon to avoid relegation from the Absa Premiership.

Lidoda Duvha secured the victory to salvage their top-flight status despite the league’s leading goal getter, Mwape Musonda, leaving his scoring boots at home. Instead it was defender Khomotso Masia who provided the vital moment for the Limpopo side. The Citizens, meanwhile, finish in fourth place on the log.

Leopards earned an early penalty when winger Lifa Hlongwane was tripped up by Thamsanqa Mkhize. Mwape Musonda took on the spot kick in the seventh minute, but his shot was turned away by a great save from Peter Leeuwenburgh.

Mkhize went from a villain at one end to almost being the hero at the other, as his glancing header from a Chris David cross flashed just wide of Leopards’ goal posts in the 26th minute.

That chance spurred City on to dominated the rest of the half, though they were unable to claim a goal before the interval. The likes of Mkhize, Edmilson Dove and Gift Links all spurned presentable opportunities to find the back of the net.

Leopards made a double change at the start of the second half, introducing Themba Ndlovu and Tshwarelo Bereng, but it was goalkeeper King Ndlovu who made their first notable contribution in the second stanza, turning away a powerful shot from City’s Siphelele Mthembu in the 52nd minute.

It was then the turn of Leeuwenburgh to make another superb save a couple of minutes later, somehow shifting his balance and tipping over a goal-bound header from Chris Katjiukua to keep the score line blank.

Leopards put together a great passing move on 64 minutes to carve open City’s defence and present Musonda with a clear scoring chance, but he blazed his effort well wide of the mark with only the ‘keeper to beat.

Leopards finally broke through in the 77th minute, with defender Khomotso Masia scoring with a glancing header from a corner kick – Leeuwenburgh got his hands to the ball, but it had simply too much pace for him to make a save.

Masia’s goal proved to be the decisive moment of the match, with Lidoda Duvha holding out for a precious three points and a guaranteed place in the top flight for 2019/20.

Black Leopards (0) 1 (Masia 77’)

Cape Town City 0

Leopards: K. Ndlovu, Mudau, Katjiukua, Masia, Zulu, Khutlang, Masalesa, Mokoena (Bereng 46’), Hlongwane (Mhlongo 63’), Tshepe (T. Ndlovu 46’), Musonda

CT City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhize, Fielies, Cupido (Seedat 46’), Dove, Modise, David, Kewuti, Abrahams (Roberts 69’), Links, Mthembu (Erasmus 58’)