POLOKWANE, January 6 – Black Leopards emerged victorious 2-1 over Baroka FC in the Limpopo Province derby in an Absa Premiership fixture played at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Baroka had an early opportunity when Tshidiso Patjie fired a shot wide of goal.
But Leopards soon took control of proceedings as Mwape Musonda went close, Lehlohonolo Masalesa had an effort saved by Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, and Tshwarelo Bereng steered a shot wide of the target.
Leopards’ hard work was eventually rewarded in the 31st minute when Musonda scored with a sweet finish from inside the area. And, five minutes later, Leopards increased their advantage as Bereng netted to make the score 2-0.
Baroka tried to get things going in the final minutes of the first half, with Mduduzi Mdatsane shooting wide, but Leopards held firm to maintain their lead going into the break.
Desperate to get back into the game, Baroka brought on Ranga Chivaviro in place of Tebogo Sodi seven minutes into the second half. Soon after, Talent Chawapiwa and Collins Makgaka failed to make the most of their chances as Baroka continued to struggle to find a way through the resolute Leopards defence.
But Baroka’s pressure eventually paid off in the 68th minute when Abdi Banda headed in to pull one back – and, at 2-1, the hosts were right back in it.
Leopards then decided to shore things up by bringing on Thabiso Mokoena in place of Masalesa.
Baroka worked hard and kept plugging away, but Leopards hung on to register the victory and take the valuable three away points.
Golden Arrows ran out comfortable 2-0 victors over rock-bottom Maritzburg United in a league encounter at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Arrows, who played the last quarter of the match with 10 men after Wayde Jooste was sent off, scored early goals in both halves through Knox Mutizwa and Joao Moreira, and despite having to withstand a late onslaught, the outcome of the game never looked in doubt.
Both teams had new coaches on the bench – Steve Komphela for the hosts and Muhsin Ertugral for the visitors, and it was Komphela who saw his charges hitting the ground running as Abafana bes’Thende dominated the first half, while Maritzburg struggled for cohesion and confidence.
It took the Durban team just nine minutes to break the deadlock as a fantastic cross from Danny Venter was met with an equally impressive downward header from Mutizwa, giving Maritzburg keeper Richard Ofori no chance.
Arrows continued to keep their foot on the accelerator and it took a fine save from Ofori six minutes later to tip over a 25-yard hit from Venter which had been heading for the top corner.
The Ghana international keeper was at it again in the 23rd minute, when he did well to recover the ball after Mutizwa initially seemed to have gone past him.
Maritzburg improved slightly towards the end of the first half and had a couple of half chances through Yazid Atouba – a long-range effort which flew over, and another shot from a good position in the box, which was well blocked by Nkosinathi Sibisi.
Any hopes of a comeback in the second half for the Pietermaritzburg team were nearly immediately made even more difficult as Arrows added a second goal in the 46th minute when after a neat interchange of passes, Moreira fired a low angled shot from inside the box past Ofori.
The visitors were given a potential lifeline back into the match when Arrows midfielder Jooste was red-carded in the 67th minute, following a studs-up challenge on Keletso Makgalwa.
Goal-scoring chances soon materialised for the Team of Choice, but they were unable to capitalise as Atouba fired wildly over the bar before Deolin Mekoa went close with a rasping drive 20 minutes from time.
To their credit, Maritzburg piled on the pressure in the closing 15 minutes in Clermont, but apart from a header by Siyanda Xulu, which flashed wide, and a shot in added time from Makgalwa which missed by a couple of inches, the KZN Midlands team never really looked like getting anything out of the game.
Results of Sunday’s PSL Absa Premiership matches played around the country:
At New Peter Mokaba Stadium:
Baroka FC 1 Black Leopards 2
At Prince Magogo Stadium:
Golden Arrows 2 Maritzburg United 0