Johannesburg - National First Division club Black Leopards must hate the fact they have to play their next promotion play-off match in Cape Town.
Not too long ago Lidoda Duvha were in contention for automatic promotion to the top flight, but two defeats in Cape Town to Milano United and Chippa United last month ended their hopes of making a return to the Premiership without the strain of having to play in the promotion play-offs.
The city has not been a happy-hunting ground for Lidoda Duvha this year, and on Wednesday at Athlone Stadium (7.30pm), Kosta Papic’s men come up against Milano knowing there is no room for error.
The visitors are on three points after two matches, four points behind the leaders, Polokwane City, who only need a point to stay in the top flight if Leopards draw on Wednesday.
A draw for Leopards in the three-team mini-league still keeps their hopes of winning promotion slightly alive, but they’d have to beat Limpopo rival City by three goals or more in the final game of the play-offs this weekend at Giyani Stadium to qualify for top-flight football.
“We know that it is going to be difficult, but it is not all over for us,” Leopards coach Papic said on Monday. “We are still fighting because we can still win it. We have two matches to play and we have to make sure that we win our matches. It is very important that we get these points, so we will do our best.”
But Milano are no pushovers when they are at home. And Papic knows that all too well.
Milano, who kept nine clean sheets at home this past season, conceded 10 goals in 15 matches at home during their campaign, six of which were conceded against fellow Cape Town clubs.
The Cape club has no chance of winning promotion this season after two defeats in the play-offs, but they are not likely to let Leopards walk all over them.
“We played against Milano (in Cape Town) and we lost, but luck was not on our side,” said Papic. “They have a good squad and it won’t be easy. We will see what happens. All I can is that we are ready. We do not have an option.
“We just have to win both our matches to get promotion. That is the only way,” the former Orlando Pirates coach said.
P W D L F A Pts
Polokwane 3 2 1 0 3 0 7
Leopards 2 1 0 1 2 2 3
Milano 3 0 1 2 1 4 1