JOHANNESBURG – Black Leopards progressed to the last-16 of the Nedbank Cup following a 5 – 4 victory in the lottery of penalty-shoot-outs against Orlando Pirates at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday night.
Both sides had finished 1-1 after the added extra-time of the match, but either side couldn’t seal win during the match’s 120 minutes.
However, it was the boot of Joseph Mhlongo (as the last kicker) that ensured Lidoda Lidoda Dudabooked their spot in the last-16 of the competition.
It was relatively a slow start for either side as the ball possession was centralised in the middle of the park. The visitors, Pirates, were the team with the upper hand though as they were dominating the majority share of that possession – but they created minimal of chances to make them count.
The real chance of the game was upon the home side Leopards, but striker Muwape Musonda squandered that glance into the stands.
With the backing of their supporters, Lidoda Duvha looked as the team that would draw first blood as their target man such as Lesedi Kapinga and Musonda were asking all sorts of questions at Jackson Mabokgwane posts.
But it was the Bucs that took the lead following a clinical free-kick from Justin Shonga - which was just inches away from the 18-area box.
Leopards didn’t drop their guards as they went in search of the parity. Their persistence eventually paid off as Musonda pounced home a half-volley following a delightful set-up from Pentjie Zulu – as the result squared the game going into the interval.
The second stanza started in a similar fashion as first, with the two teams searching for their footing but with no real chances created. It was not a matter of minimal play, but the defenders marshalled the loopholes as they protected their goalkeepers, respectively.
In those attempts, the Bucs went for a long-range attempt but Vincent Pule’s shot was wide off goal just after the hour-mark.
With 20 minutes into the second half, the Buccaneers had another opportunity to take the lead but the close-rang attempt from Shonga was comfortably saved by goalkeeper King Zulu.
Zungu didn’t stop there, as he made sure that he was at the thick of things when he saved Paseka Mako’s sliding tap-in - who was being teeing up by Thembinkosi Lorch.
In regulation time, that was enough play though as both sides went went into extra-time.
Even in that period, Lidod Duvha should have been ahead but Mhlongo’s strike was easily dealt with by Jackson Mabokgwane.
Mhlongo wasn’t to be denied, as he scored the winner in the final kick of the penalties – thus sending the Sea Robbers packing of the country's premier club knockout competition.
Black Leopards (1) (0)
Orlando Pirates (1) (0)
(Leopards won 5 - 4 on penalties)