Johannesburg – A brace from Senegalese striker Mame Niang extended the University of Pretoria's unbeaten Absa Premiership run to eight successive matches, after beating Black Leopards 3-1 at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Niang and Bongani Zungu guided the visitors to their seventh victory of the season, while Leopards were dealt a massive blow to their bid for Premiership survival, despite pulling one back through Raymond Monama, who scored shortly after Tuks' second.
Leopards – who went into the match with a game in hand over fellow strugglers Ajax Cape Town – remained embroiled in a tightly-contested scrap for league safety, along with Ajax and Chippa United, who were due to play each other later Saturday.
The hosts started brightly and had Karabo Tshepe in a dangerous position 90 seconds into the clash, but the midfielder failed to test Tuks goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who watched as Tshepe's shot sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Niang let Leopards off the hook when he had a free header inside the area, but narrowly missed the far post after getting himself into a good position off an Aubrey Ngoma set-piece.
The University outfit kept up the pressure and were rewarded shortly afterwards, when Zungu brought down a splendid cross into the area. He composed himself and dispatched a well-hit volley past goalkeeper Postnett Omony into the top right corner for the opener.
Having fallen behind, Leopards responded by dominating the remainder of the half, with chances falling to Rodney Ramagalela, Monama and Tshepe, but none were able to get their attempts on target, leaving Arubi untroubled in goal.
The sides found it difficult to come back after the interval until Niang repaid his side for the earlier miss. He headed home from an Ngoma corner on the hour mark, doubling Tuks' advantage with his ninth Premiership goal of the season.
Leopards hit back straight away through Monama, who unleashed a long-range effort at goal surprising Arubi, who was wrong-footed by the shot, reducing AmaTuks' lead to just one.
With just 10 minutes left on the clock, Niang wrapped up the result when he slotted home his second of the day, after some good work in the Tuks midfield allowed the tall attacker to nod home from close-range. – Sapa