By Sports Focus Reporter
Two goals in two first half minutes paved the way for Black Leopards to record a 3-1 Nedbank Cup last 16 victory over BTX Liverpool at Welkom’s Griffon Stadium.
The mining club put up a brave showing – they were not outclassed, but in the end could not match the more experienced first division side from the Limpopo.
Early action saw home goal keeper Joseph Ramokone having to make a couple of saves as Leopards piled on the pressure.
Liverpool however also had some promising moments in and around the Leopards box, but could not the right touches needed to get in any clear-cut chances on goal.
In the 12th minute Lidoda Duvha had no such problems when Rodney Ramagalela fired over the bar from only 12-yards out, while soon after, Raymond Monama wasn’t far off with a well-struck shot from just outside the box.
The Limpopo team continued to attack and should have been ahead in the 21st minute, but Mongezi Bobe flashed a header wide.
The hosts had a decent chance five minutes later when a cross reached Ishmael Chandu, but he took too long to shoot and which allowed a defender to block the eventual effort.
A 28th minute quickly taken corner from Leopards lead to the opening goal as Ramagalela was left unmarked to head Bobe’s delivery into the net.
Within two minutes it was 2-0 as the experienced Dingane Masanabo ran onto a through ball and easily lobbed the ball over Ramokone and into an empty goal.
Liverpool’s Mobhoko Masombuka was perhaps unlucky not to earn a penalty when his 37th minute shot slammed into Moses Kwena, appearing to hit the defender’s arm.
The home side remained positive after the restart and nearly scored a spectacular goal when Vuyani Pitso’s 45-yard shot dropped just over the bar, and then, in the 54th minute, Tumo Sephiri should really have done better as he shot wide following a lovely flowing team move by the Free State team.
At the other end, Leopards’ Monama wasted a great chance in the 67th minute when he side-footed the ball into the stands from well inside the box.
The victory was sealed in the 73rd minute when former Silver Stars striker Masanabo pressurised the Liverpool defence into a mistake and powered his way through to goal for his second brace in two games.
There was however a twist in the tail in the 78th minute when Mafanyane Mokitimni struck with a first time volley after Harry Nyirenda had gifted him possession.
Five minutes later Mokitimi could well have added a second when he sprinted through on goal, but he lost his cool when it came to the finish and poked the ball over the bar by some distance.
A rousing finish ensued from the amateur side and they were unlucky again with five minutes to go when skipper Moeketsi Motsoahole struck the base of the upright with a free kick.
In the end Lidoda Duvha had to hang on as Sephiri had his header tipped over the bar by keeper Azwinndini Mpahaha.
BTX Liverpool (0) 1
Black Leopards (2) 3 (Ramagalela 28’, Masanabo 30’, 73’)
BTX Liverpool: (4-4-2) Ramokone; Pitso, Kosieapula, Ntseki, Tladi; Mokhakoane (P Chandu 59‘), Motsoahole, I Chandu, Masombuka, Sephiri, Maruping (Mokitimi 63’)
Black Leopards: (4-4-2) Mpahaha; Kwena, Nyirenda, Vezi, Tshabalala; Bobe, Monama (Kondowe 82‘), Mabunda, Masuku (Maake 59‘); Masanabo, Ramagalela