Black Leopards’ goal scorers, Karabo Tshepe and Joseph Mhlongo (right).
As if they had won a cup final, the fans of Black Leopards left the Thohoyandou Stadium with happy hearts on Sunday, after their team had crushed Jomo Cosmos 3-0 in their NFD League match to secure a place in the promotional playoffs.
Cosmos, who were already certain of place in the promotional playoffs before their match against Leopards, were without most of their regular players, including Carlton Mashumba and Lifa Hlongwane.
The home side capitalized on this by scoring three goals within the first 45 minutes. Lidoda Duvha lost their bulldozer striker, Mwape Musonda, through injury in the eighth minute. Musonda collided head-on with Cosmos’s keeper, King Ndlovu. The two sustained serious injuries and neither could continue with the game. Musonda was replaced with Joseph Mhlongo while Clement Ramagkasha came on for Ndlovu.
Tebogo Makobela of Cosmos was reprimanded with a yellow card in the 17th minute. He tackled Tsheamo Mashoene of Leopards from behind. Leopards took the lead in the 19th minute. Karabo Tshepe beat the keeper with a ground cutter, following a neat pass from Phathutshedzo Nange.
Cosmos started to panic after the Leopards’ opening goal and lost cohesion in the middle of the park. The Thohoyandou side increased the margin in the 28th minute. Tshepe completed his brace after a rebound, following Joseph Mhlongo’s initial attempt. Cosmos’s midfielder, Tebogo Makobela, was lucky not to see red after tackling Phathutshedzo Nange dangerously.
Mhlongo scored the third seven minutes before the referee, Mr Victor Gomes, blew the half-time whistle. Leopards completed their substitution chances early in the last half. They replaced Meshack Maphangule and Phathutshedzo Nange with Ivan Mahangwahaya and Xolani Ndlovu respectively.
Realizing that victory was almost certain, Leopards entertained the fans with their dribbling skills in the last 15 minutes of the game.
Date:10 May 2018 - By: Frank Mavhungu
Frank is a Human Resources Manager at the Department of Public Works in Limpopo. He is the longest serving correspondent of the Mirror, having joined us at the end of 1990. He mainly writes sports reports and resides at Tsianda Village. In 2004, Frank won the National Castle League Award, an award for the best reporter in the SAB league in South Africa.