Black Leopards coach Joel Masutha will be relieved after his side secured a point against Free State Stars. Photo: BackpagePix

Black Leopards moved one place further away from the relegation zone with a 1-1 draw with Free State Stars in a Premiership match played at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday.

It was very important for Lidoda Duvha to get something from this match as the ghost of relegation was starting to haunt Joel Masutha’s side.

The match started slowly for both sides, with Leopards eventually gaining the upperhand.

Chances to score were few and far between, with both goalkeepers not having too much to do.

Free State Stars had the first scoring opportunity, but Cezaire Gandze shot wildly in the 10th minute with only keeper King Ndlovu to beat.

Midfielder Mthothozisi Nene put the home side in the lead in the 28th minute when he beat Stars’ goalkeeper Ali Sangare.

Luc Eymael’s team, however, did not give up and made sure that Leopards’ defenders were kept on their toes.

Stars piled on the pressure just before halftime, but bad decision-making cost the visitors dearly.

In the second half, it was Stars who showed more aggression.

The Free State team were rewarded in the 58th minute when Gandze buried the ball in the Leopards’ net, giving Ndlovu no chance.

Stars had fired a warning shot just three minutes earlier, but Ndlovu had no problem keeping the ball out after a Sibusiso Hlubi attempt.

It was a good result for Stars, who also picked up a point in the only midweek match against Golden Arrows.

Leopards leapfrogged Chippa United into 12th position on the league table with nine points from nine matches, while FS Stars stay in eighth position with 13 points after 12 games.

African News Agency (ANA)