Sibusiso Mthethwa of Platinum Stars challenges Joseph Mhlongo of Black Leopards during the Playoffs match at Orlando Stadium.Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – With judgement being reserved in the Joburg High Court where Ajax Cape Town are seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the promotion play-offs from taking place, Leopards got off to a flying start in their bid to return to the Absa Premiership.

Lidoda Duvha put home ground advantage to great use by overcoming sluggish Stars and earning the first maximum points of the three-team mini-league that could well be turned on its head by the court’s outstanding decision.

Judge Raylene Keightley will study submissions of the various parties and a ruling on the case that has seen Ajax relegated after being found guilty of fielding the ineligible Tendai Ndoro is expected by tomorrow.

Clearly not bothered by the case, Leopards, who finished second in the National First Division, played like a team hell-bent on rejoining the elite league.

The Limpopo outfit were their usual attacking selves in front of their partisan fans and could have rendered the match a no-contest in the first half.

Stars started the match on the front foot and forced two consecutive corners in the first three minutes.

But once they settled, Leopards bossed the match and always looked dangerous when venturing forward and had numerous chances to score.

But Joseph Mhlongo (twice), Marks Munyai and Phathutshedzi Nange sent their shots away from the target when they had opportunities to beat Stars goalkeeper Dino Visser.

Denied what should have been a penalty in the ninth minute when Enocent Mkhabela tripped Munyai in the box, Leopards never dropped their heads.

They were duly rewarded early in the second half following a swift counter-attack. Ryan de Jong’s attempted clearance was poor and Mhlongo delivered a neat low cross that Meshack Maphangule bridged for Nange to slot home.

With Jomo Cosmos next up for them on Sunday, Leopards will no doubt be hoping that Judge Keightley throws out Ajax’s case lest they have to forfeit this result and then play the Cape outfit.


Black Leopards (0) 1

Nange 52

Platinum Stars 0

IOL Sport

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