Leopards move clear of the drop zone with AmaZulu victory
THOHOYANDOU – AmaZulu's three-match winning streak in the league came to an end when they were beaten 3-1 by Black Leopards at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
All three goals came in the second half, with Lifa Hlongwane and Tshwarelo Bereng giving the hosts a 2-0 lead before Bongi Ntuli pulled one back for the Durban side, only for Mwape Musonda to add a third goal for Leopards soon after.
AmaZulu started well and were to enjoy the best chances early on as some good play by Emiliano Tade created openings for Tapelo Nyongo and Ovidy Karuru, but both players skied their shots over the bar.
Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu, who had come on as a replacement after an injury to Rotshidzwa Muleka, had to be at his best in the 20th minute to tip over a stinging volley from Butholezwe Ncube.
Having survived the initial onslaught, Lidoda Duvha were able to claw themselves back into the game and they were to end the first half on top.
There were some decent chances just before the interval for the hosts, but Khuliso Mudau wasted a good opportunity after going clean through on goal by shooting tamely at Usuthu keeper Siyabonga Mbatha, before Musonda sent a header wide from a promising position in the box.
Despite the heat, the match continued at a high tempo after the restart, and there was soon work to do for both goalkeepers as Ndlovu kept out Tade before Mbatha saved an effort from Pentjie Zulu.
Zulu was, however, to turn goal provider, when his pin-point cross in the 60th minute picked out Hlongwane, whose first time shot was perfectly placed into the bottom corner as Leopards went in front.
The hosts grew in confidence and their lead was doubled 18 minutes later when Mudau cut the ball back for Bereng, who smashed a first-time effort into the top corner of the net.
It nearly got worse for a somewhat shell-shocked AmaZulu three minutes later when Leopards substitute Lesedi Kapinga’s effort shaved the upright.
Instead, the KZN side gave themselves hope of a comeback when Ncube's 83rd minute cross was cleverly flicked into the net by Ntuli.
The Limpopo side however quickly shut the door on AmaZulu by scoring a third time just a minute later, after Musonda beat the off-side trap and then fired in a clinical finish from a very tight angle in the 88th minute, as Lidoda Duvha ended a run of six matches without a win in the Premiership.
The victory, a first in charge for new coach Dylan Kerr, moves Leopards up to 12th spot, although they could drop a place if Maritzburg United beat SuperSport United later on Saturday.
African News Agency (ANA)