Baroka beat Leopards to advance in Nedbank Cup
POLOKWANE – Baroka FC beat their Limpopo rivals Black Leopards for the second weekend in a row to advance into the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup.
Having beaten Lidoda Duvha 2-0 last Saturday in a league clash, Bakgaga doubled up on their provincial foes by winning 1-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the decisive moment a late own goal from defender Joseph Douhadji. They join Bidvest Wits in the final four of the national cup competition.
The teams created little of note in the opening minutes, with the first shot in anger only arriving just before the midway point of the first half when the in-form Evidence Makgopa cut inside from the right and fired off a long-range effort which stung the palms of Rotshidzwa Muleka.
Gradually Leopards seemed to enjoy more and more of the ball, though providing ammunition for forwards Thobani Mncwango and Mwape Musonda proved difficult. The best example of this arrived 10 minutes before the break when Thabo Matlaba burst through the defence in the penalty area, but his pass was played behind two onrushing teammates.
The first half ended with the teams locked at 0-0, and neither goalkeeper having been really threatened in any significant way. Baroka made an attacking substitution at the start of the second half, replacing Matome Kgoetyane with striker Richard Mbulu.
Yet Leopards continued to look the more threatening team and should have claimed the lead in the 58th minute: Matlaba teed up Musonda, who struck a low shot on target from close range but was denied by a brilliant one-handed save from Elvis Chipezeze.
For all of Leopards’ relative dominance, Baroka were awarded a penalty on 77 minutes when Mbulu was pushed over in the 18-yard area by Khuliso Mudau. Substitute Gerald Phiri Jr took on the spot kick and saw his effort skim off the outside of the post, with Muleka having the shot covered had it been on target.
Bakgaga, however, did not dwell on the missed opportunity and finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute: Tshidiso Patjie’s low cross from the right was stabbed into his own net by the unfortunate defender Joseph Douhadji.
Leopards threw everything they had at Baroka in the dying minutes to try and force extra time, but the hosts were able to see out the game and secure progression. The final two places in the semifinals will be decided by matches between Highlands Park and Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday evening, as well as TS Sporting and Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.
Premier Soccer League