Black Leopards are still in with a chance of earning promotion to the PSL after defeating Stellenbosch FC 3-1 in the penultimate playoff match at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Lidoda Duvha, who took down their hosts in the Cape thanks in the main to a first-half brace from Mwape Musonda, can leapfrog to the top of the standings if they defeat Baroka FC by two clear goals in the final match this weekend.
Leopards took their time to find an attacking rhythm, but once they clicked upfront they created chance after chance.
Phatutshedzi Nange was their most threatening player, forcing goalkeeper Edward More into a save on 21 minutes and blazing a shot just over the target on the half hour mark.
In the 39th minute the Limpopo side were rewarded for their efforts. Mumuni Abubakar’s long-range shot was well saved by More, but the keeper could do nothing to prevent Mwape Musonda scoring from the rebound.
In injury time before the interval, Musonda made it 2-0 when he tapped into an empty net. Meshack Maphangule was the architect of the goal, stealing the ball off Stellenbosch’s defence before drawing the ‘keeper off his line and unselfishly squaring for Musonda.
Stellies made an attacking change at the start of the second half when they introduced Mame Niang in place of Jason Skippers. They pulled a goal back on 65 minutes, but it came in bizarre circumstances.
With Leopards having sportingly put the ball out of play, the Cape side looked to return it from near the halfway line through Petrus Shitembi, who punted it toward Rotshidzwa Muleka.
However, the goalkeeper horribly misjudged the bounce and saw the ball travel beyond his reach and into the back of the net to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Lidoda Duvha’s two-goal advantage was restored in the 74th minute when Abubakar got on the end of an in-swinging corner kick and forced the ball home from close range, overpowering More in an aerial battle.
The result saw Leopards move to four points (with a goal difference of +1), three adrift of leaders Baroka FC (with a goal difference of +3).
The teams will meet in the final playoff match at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Stellenbosch FC (0) 1 (Shitembi 65’)
Black Leopards (2) 3 (Musonda 39’ 45+3’, Abubakar 74’)
Stellenbosch: More, De Goede, Skippers (Niang 46’), Booysen, Rowell, Webber, Dien (van Rooyen 73’), Mabua, Mekoa, Moroole, Shitembi
Leopards: Muleka, Munyai, Mabotja, Munganga, Ndou, Abubakar, Nange, Maphangule (Mahangwahaya 72’), Musonda, Ntshangase, Zimu (Shivambu 86’)
Sourced from the PSL website.