BLACK Leopards kept their chances of promotion alive when they beat Milano United 1-0 at in the PSL promotion playoff match at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Rendani Ndou’s solitary goal means the Lidoda Duhva will go to Giyani on Sunday needing to beat Polokwane City in order to book their spot in the top-flight of South African football.
The pressure was on Leopards to walk away with maximum points as they knew that anything less than a victory would see Polokwane City preserve their top-flight status without having to step onto the field.
However, it was the Cape club who had the brighter of starts as they saw their leading man Devon Saal take aim early on and test the gloves of Jacob Mohasi with his stinging shot.
Kostadin Papic’s side was doing well to work the ball forward with some short passes, but their 12th minute effort saw the ball sail straight into Tashriq Goldman’s arms.
Lebogang Mabotja then sent his free-kick just before the half hour directly and unthreateningly into the Milano keeper’s arms following a foul on Leonard Ntshangase by Richard Webber.
Then, in the 33rd minute, a perfect cross sailed into the path of Lesvin Stoffels from six-yards out. The towering striker did well to connect to it, but could only direct his header wide of the goal.
It was almost 1-0 to Leopards on 54 minutes when Rendani Ndou got onto the end of a free-kick and nodded in a dangerous header that forced Goldman to tip it over from the tightest of angles.
Mokhasi then made a crucial save to snatch the ball off the feet of Saal, before going agonisingly close again with his glancing shot that rolled out narrowly at the far post.
Ndou’s blushes were spared midway through the second 45, when he shockingly sent his header across the box despite having to turn it into the back of an empty net. Fortunately for him, play was blown for offside.
Leopards were back in the race with 11 minutes to go when Ndou picked up the ball, beat his marker and slotted the ball under the body of Goldman to wrap up a late victory.
Milano United: (0) 0
Black Leopards: (0) 1 (Ndou 79’)
Milano: Goldman, Robertson, Jacobs, Sait, Nazier, Phete, J. Jacobs (Stellenboom 81’), Theron (Hills 55’), Webber, Saal, Stoffels.
Leopards: Mokhasi, Munyai, Mabotja, Munganga, Owusu, Abubakar, Manaka, Maphangule (Tshepe), Ntshangase, Matlakala (Sangweni 92’), Amidu (Ndou 53’)-Backpage TXT