Chiefs lose to bottom-of-the-log Leopards

Chiefs lose to bottom-of-the-log Leopards
Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Mumuni Abubakar of Black Leopards

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday May 26, 2021. 17:20

Kaizer Chiefs may be through to the semifinals of the CAF Champions League, but they continue to under-perform on the domestic front after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of bottom-of-the-log Black Leopards in a DStv Premiership clash on Wednesday.

The result at Thohoyandou Stadium means the Amakhosi’s top-eight hopes hang by a thread: they are three points off the pace of eighth-place Baroka FC and will need them, as well as TS Galaxy and Bloemfontein Celtic, to drop points between now and the end of the season if Gavin Hunt’s side are to end in the top half of the standings.

As for Lidoda Duvha, who secured the win thanks to a brace from Tiklas Thutlwa, they remain bottom of the log but are now just three points behind Chippa United (placed in the relegation playoff zone) with two rounds of the 2020-21 season left to play.

Leopards had a promising start and created the first genuine chance of the game, with Thutlwa dragging a shot wide from the edge of the box in the ninth minute.

Yet less than 60 seconds later Chiefs claimed the lead. Lazarous Kambole teed up Happy Mashiane for what looked a tap-in at the far post, but he was denied by a brilliant save from goalkeeper Jonas Mendes, only for the loose ball to be easily tucked away by Leonardo Castro.

The hosts were stung by the goal but gradually began to build attacking pressure as the half progressed, with Sanele Mathenjwa notably heading over from a great cross by left-back Tsheamo Mashoene on 39 minutes.

Mashoene did more great work on the overlap in the 44th minute, running onto Tumelo Khutlang’s pass before playing a perfect low cross which was turned home at the far post by Thutlwa to send the teams into the break locked at 1-1.

Chiefs almost reclaimed the advantage 11 minutes into the second stanza, with Nkosingiphile Ngcobo’s free kick deflecting off Edwin Gyimah and striking the post.

Yet it was Leopards who landed the next blow, taking the lead for the first time in the 64th minute. Substitute Tebogo Makobela played a fine one-two with Mathenjwa to get in behind the defence before crossing from the by-line to find Thutlwa, who headed home to make it 2-1 to the Limpopo side.

Chiefs looked for a response in what remained of the game, but their stuttering attack never looked like threatening the hosts, until an injury-time turn and shot from Sabelo Radebe which was superbly saved by Mendes to see Lidoda Duvha claim three vital points.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action next Wednesday, June 2, with Leopards away to Cape Town City and Chiefs at home to Golden Arrows.

Black Leopards (1) 2 (Thutlwa 44’ 64’)

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Castro 10’)

Leopards: Mendes, Sampson (Makobela 57’), Gyimah, Masia, Mashoene (Khumalo 75’), Mthethwa (T. Ndlovu 75’), Maluleke (Mokoena 75’), Thutlwa (Douhadji 83’), Mathenjwa, Khutlang, Karuru

Chiefs: Bvuma, Ngezana, Mathoho, Cardoso, Zulu, Matsheke (Akumu 72’), Parker, Ngcobo, Mashiane (Frosler 60’), Kambole (Radebe 71’), Castro

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