Joseph Mhlongo of Leopards celebrates after scoring his team’s winning penalty.
When Black Leopards lost 1-2 to Orlando Pirates in their first-round league match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium about six months ago, little did they know that they would soon hit Pirates where it hurts most.
That day finally arrived last Saturday when Lidoda Duvha beat the Buccaneers 6-5 in their Nedbank Cup Competition match at a packed Thohoyandou Stadium.
Mr Dylan Kerr, Leopards’ head coach, said he had mixed feeling about the team’s victory. Firstly, he pointed out that he was happy that the team had secured a place in the next stage of the competition. He also stated that the fact that they had squandered numerous scoring opportunities was something that did not sit well with him.
He reiterated the fact that they could have sealed the game during regulation time if it were not for the fact that his strikers seemed to be a bit shy at the goal finish.
He further stated that his game plan had been superb, except that the frontrunners had not been lucky enough on the day. He said that while bringing the Nedbank Cup to Thohoyandou would be good for the club and the supporters, his primary objective was to ensure that Black Leopards finished their league programme in a respectable position on the log.
Speaking during an interview shortly after the game, Pirates’ head coach, Mr Milutin Sredojevic, was quick to mention that they had lost to the better side. According to him, Lidoda Duvha deserved to win the match, saying he had no reason to blame his players as the opposition were just unstoppable. He wished Leopards good luck in their next-round match before exchanging his contact details with Mr Kerr and left for the team’s dressing room.
Justin Shonga scored for Pirates from a place kick in the 34th minute. It took Leopards 39 minutes to find the equalizer through Mwape Musonda. A 30-minute period of extra time was added at the end of the regulation time, but the score remained 1-1 until the referee, Mr Victor Gomes, blew the final whistle. The winner was determined through penalty shootout. Leopards converted five through Isaac Masia, Karabo Tshepe, Tswarelo Bereng, Thabiso Mokoena and Joseph Mhlongo, while Pirates scored four from the white spot and missed two.
Date:31 January 2019 - 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.