Baroka FC claimed the bragging rights in their DStv Premiership Limpopo derby, defeating Black Leopards 2-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday evening.
An own goal from Kenneth Nthetheni and a maiden top-flight strike from Joslin Kamatuka saw Bakgaga break a four-game winless streak and move to eighth place on the log, while Lidoda Duvha suffered a fifth straight loss and remain rooted to the bottom of the standings.
The first notable attacking foray came from a Leopards free kick in the 18th minute, with Roderick Kabwe’s delivery narrowly missed by Ovidy Karuru, and shortly thereafter Rodney Ramagalela sliced a shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Lidoda Duvha were perhaps lucky not to go down to 10 men midway through the first half, with Mumuni Abubakar catching Goodman Mosele with a reckless and ill-timed challenge. Referee Michael Mosemeng opted for a yellow card rather than a red.
On 25 minutes Leopards missed a great chance to claim the lead, with a clever pass around the corner from Karuru drawing goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke off his line but still finding the run of Ramagalela, who couldn’t quite direct a lobbed effort on target.
Baroka soon began to offer a threat in attack, with Thamsanqa Masiya having a strong appeal for a penalty turned down, and on 34 minutes Kgodiso Monama got away a low shot which forced a decent save from Leopards’ Rotshidzwa Muleka.
However, neither side was able to find a way through their opponents defence in the opening 45 minutes, leaving the match goalless at the interval.
Chances were few and far between in the opening quarter hour of the second half, but the deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark: Baroka’s Mosele skewed a shot from outside the penalty area which looked set to travel wide of the mark but was deflected into his own goal by unfortunate defender Kenneth Nthatheni.
Five minutes later Bakgaga doubled their advantage, with Namibian Joslin Kamatuka running onto a great clearance from ‘keeper Masuluke before steering a low shot past Muleka for 2-0 and his first goal in the DStv Premiership.
Leopards recovered from the double blow and began to build some pressure at the other end of the field, with Thabiso Mokoena shooting just over from long range on 78 minutes, before they pulled a goal back five minutes later.
Substitute Tumelo Khutlang provided a perfectly placed in-swinging corner kick and Nthatheni headed home to reduce the deficit to 2-1 and earn some personal redemption for his earlier own goal.
On 88 minutes Baroka had a major scare when Khutlang got a low shot on target which was parried by Masuluke, and cleared by Cheslyn Jampies before Karuru could latch onto the loose ball, while Evidence Makgopa then forced a fine save from Muleka on the opposite side of the field.
Leopards will return to DStv Premiership action on Tuesday 23 February with a match away to Golden Arrows, while Baroka’s next league clash is also away to Abafana Bes’thende on Wednesday 3 March.
Baroka FC (0) 2 (Nthatheni og 60’, Kamatuka 65’)
Black Leopards (0) 1 (Nthatheni 83’)
Baroka: Masuluke, Mphahlele, Makume, Shozi, Jampies, Masiya (Kgoetyane 90+3’), Mosele, Monama (Kambala 84’), Gebhardt, Makgopa, Kamatuka (Dickens 90+3’)
Leopards: Muleka, Makobela, Nthatheni, Gyimah, Khumalo, Ramagalela, Abubakar (Mokoena 68’), Makgetlwa, Kabwe (Khutlang 68’), Hlongwane (Anas 84’), Karuru