CAPE TOWN – Black Leopards triumphed 2-1 in the ‘Limpopo Derby’ against rivals Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) in a hard-fought battle between the DStv Premiership basement dwellers at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday evening.
The outcome will not change the log positions of the two teams. Leopards will remain rooted in the last position at 16th place, with TTM in 15th place. Leopards have, however, closed the seven-point gap to four points.
TTM was the first to pull the trigger through defender Ndivhuwo Ravhuhali who tried a long-range shot after he was sent clear down the left flank by midfielder Diala Manaka soon after the kick-off.
Leopards quickly seized the initiative and dominated for the next 10 minutes and should have reaped a reward but were foiled by the upright after clever set-piece play from a ninth-minute corner. Midfielder Roderick Kabwe latched on to feed from a corner, and his goalmouth cross was met with a header by defender Khomotso Masia, who had stalked into the firing line. However, Masia’s effort was held out by the upright.
The momentum remained with Leopards for most of the half. They managed to penetrate the opposition defence on occasions but were denied by TTM’s Zimbabwean goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who was a pillar of strength between the sticks.
When it seemed the first half would end goalless, the game came alive with a goal at each end, three minutes ahead of the break.
First TTM defender Bulelani Ndengane scored from the ‘spot’ after referee Abongile Tom penalised Leopards’ central defender Khomotso Masia for a foul on striker Celimpilo Ngema (1-0).
Leopards’ riposte followed four minutes later in added time when midfielder Roderick Kabwe scored with a thunderous shot from a free-kick just outside the TTM penalty area (1-1).
When second-half play resumed, Leopards continued to make all the running. Just ahead of the hour mark, they went ahead 2-1 thanks to a goal by midfielder Sanele Mathentwa, who rose well to head the ball into the roof of the opposition net.
TTM squandered two gilt-edged scoring chances just ahead of the final whistle.
Meanwhile, at the Mbombela Stadium, in Nelspruit, hosts TS Galaxy ran out 1-0 winners over Cape Town City. Galaxy’s talisman Mxolisi Macuphu scored the only goal of the match, just past the hour mark.
After back-to-back wins, Galaxy have moved into eighth place.
At the Sisa Dukashe Stadium, in Mdantsane, near East London, hosts Chippa United secured a 1-0 win over Stellenbosch United. Kurt Lentjies scored in the 10th minute, and the early goal turned out to be the match decider.
At the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, SuperSport United and Baroka FC shared the spoils in a 1-all stalemate.
Zimbabwean Kudakwashe Mahachi scored a seventh-minute goal for SuperSport.
Malawian Richard Mbulu equalised for Baroka late in the second half.