Tuesday Aug 25, 2020. 20:12
A heroic performance from goalkeeper King Ndlovu was not enough to prevent Black Leopards suffering a heart-breaking 1-0 defeat at home to SuperSport United in the Absa Premiership on Tuesday.
Ndlovu made a string of brilliant saves – including one from a penalty – but ultimately a late strike from Ghampani Lungu secured all three points for Matsatsantsa (who move into third place) and left Lidoda Duvha just one point above the relegation playoff spot.
SuperSport almost claimed the lead as early as the third minute, with Bradley Grobler heading just wide of the mark after meeting a fine diagonal ball from Kudakwashe Mahachi.
Grobler had another clear chance from a counter attack eight minutes later, but he was denied by a fine save from King Ndlovu, while a follow-up effort from Sipho Mbule was blocked by Khomotso Masia.
Goalkeeper Ndlovu made another good stop on 16 minutes, turning away a dipping effort direct from a free kick by Mahachi, as SuperSport continued to threaten in attack.
Leopards finally put together a notable attack in the 21st minute and very nearly opened the scoring: Mwape Musonda fired off a fine shot which forced a great one-handed save from Ronwen Williams, before Tumelo Khutlang blazed over from the loose ball.
Both teams tightened up in defence in the remainder of the first half and chances dried up, leaving the game locked at 0-0 for the interval.
The energy and attacking verve of the opening minutes of the game was nowhere to be found in the second half, with both teams struggling to put together anything of note in the final third of the field.
SuperSport made a double change 20 minutes into the second stanza, introducing Aubrey Modiba and Thamsanqa Gabuza off the bench to freshen up their offence, and the former duly won a penalty with just under 20 minutes to play.
The spot kick appeared to be harshly awarded for a foul on Modiba from Mumuni Abubakar, but justice was served when the excellent Ndlovu dived to his left and palmed away Grobler’s penalty in the 74th minute.
United continued to create chances in the dying stages, with Ghampani Lungu stinging the palms of Ndlovu in the 86th minute and Luke Fleurs shooting over from close range shortly thereafter, but the deadlock was finally broken in the last minute of regulation time.
Ndlovu again did brilliantly to deny Gabuza in a one-on-one chance (for which he suffered a heavy collision and needed to be subbed), but the loose ball was tucked home from close range by Lungu to break Leopards’ hearts and secure victory for United.
Black Leopards 0
SuperSport United (0) 1 (Lungu 90’)
Leopards: K. Ndlovu (Mendes 90+3’), Mudau, Masia, Gyimah, Zulu, Thutlwa, Abubakar, Makgetlwa, Hlongwane, Khutlang, Musonda
SuperSport: Williams, Kekana, Fleurs, Daniels (Bhasera 52’), Ditlhokwe, Webber (Donn 72’), Mokoena, Mbule (Gabuza 65’), Mahachi (Modiba 65’), Lungu, Grobler