Black Leopards and SuperSport United both extended their winless runs in the DStv Premiership by playing to a 1-1 draw at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The result – secured by goals from Sipho Mbule and Ovidy Karuru – saw Matsatsantsa and Lidoda Duvha extend their win droughts in the top-flight league to eight matches each. The Limpopo hosts remain rooted to the bottom of the log, though they are now just a point behind Chippa United and the relegation playoff berth, while the Tshwane visitors stay in sixth place.
Leopards should have claimed the lead in the third minute when a mistake in defence from United’s Luke Fleurs allowed Ovidy Karuru to run in on goal, but Zimbabwean goalkeeper George Chigova directed his compatriot’s shot away for a corner kick.
On 12 minutes the hosts threatened again, with Karuru teeing up Rodney Ramagalela to shoot from just inside the penalty, but the attacker pulled his effort narrowly wide of Chigova’s right-hand post.
Leopards were made to pay for their early misses when United claimed the lead in the 18th minute: a slick passing move ended with Sipho Mbule skipping past a challenge on the edge of the box before neatly tucking home a shot to put the visitors ahead.
Lidoda Duvha deservedly hit back 10 minutes later to level the game. Karuru played a clever back-heel to put Wiseman Maluleke away and the midfielder saw his low shot parried by Chigova, but Karuru had continued his run and tucked home the loose ball for 1-1.
The score remained tied up to the halftime interval, with the teams closing up in defence for the final minutes of the first stanza. SuperSport looked to shuffle their pack 10 minutes after the restart with the introduction of winger Guily Manziba, while Leopards soon did the same by throwing on Mumuni Abubakar and Tiklas Thutlwa.
Midway through the second half Manziba went on an extraordinary solo run which started inside his own half and ended with him cutting onto his left foot inside the penalty area, but his shot was way high and wide.
Leopards then enjoyed a spell of pressure at the other end, though they lacked the necessary precision in attack to truly cut open United’s defence, with Chigova not called into action nearly as much as in the opening quarter of the game.
The teams traded half-chances in the dying stages, but neither had the confidence and composure to fully capitalise and earn themselves all three points on offer.
SuperSport will return to DStv Premiership action in the coming midweek with a match away to Swallows FC on Tuesday 27 April, while Leopards’ next league clash is a Limpopo derby away to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila next Saturday 1 May.
Black Leopards (1) 1 (Karuru 28’)SuperSport United (1) 1 (Mbule 18’)TEAMS:
Black Leopards:Mendes, Sampson, Gyimah, Nthatheni, Mashoene, Mthethwa (T. Ndlovu 80’), Maluleke (Abubakar 60’), Ramagalela (Thutlwa 60’), Mathenjwa, Kabwe, Karuru
SuperSport United:Chigova, Kekana, Fleurs, Ditlhokwe, Mahachi, Mbule, Donn, Mokoena, Ndhondhi (Manziba 56’), Webber (Grobler 73’), Rayners (Rusike 82’)© Backpage TXT