Black Leopards kept their hopes of surviving relegation alive on Wednesday, inflicting yet another humiliating defeat on Kaizer Chiefs in a 2020/21 DStv Premiership campaign jam-packed with awful results for Amakhosi.
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With two games left to go in the season, this 2-1 loss retains the possibility that Chiefs could end up in 15th, and a relegation play-off, and while it would take a fairly unlikely set of results for that to happen, the fact that Amakhosi are in this position speaks volumes about their domestic woes.
A place in next season’s MTN8 now also depends on other results going Chiefs’ way, as well as Gavin Hunt’s side probably having to win their last two games, and it is hard to believe, frankly, that this is the same team that has qualified for the semifinals of the Caf Champions League.
It had seemed bleak for Leopards as Chiefs took an early lead in Thohoyandou, as Lazarous Kambole’s cross was met by Happy Mashiane and well saved by Jonas Mendes, but Leonardo Castro was on hand to tuck home.
Leopards, however worked their way back into the encounter and Sanele Mathenjwa sent out a warning to Amakhosi when he put a free header over the bar in the 39th minute.
The warning was not heeded, and Leopards were level a minute before the break, even if there was more than a suspicion of offside in Tiklas Thutlwa’s opener, tapping in at the far post from a low cross that left Bruce Bvuma stranded.
Chiefs threatened again six minutes after the break, as another Mashiane cross was met by Castro, but his effort didn’t have enough power on it and was easily gathered by Mendes. The Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper also had to be alert just before the hour mark, pushing away Bernard Parker’s fierce shot.
It was Leopards, however, who took the lead in the 64th minute. Not long after coming on the pitch, Tebogo Makobela crossed, and Thutlwa was on hand to head past Bvuma.
Chiefs pushed for an equaliser, and the closest they came was in stoppage time, when substitute Sabelo Radebe turned and shot, but Mendes pulled off a brilliant save.