A 92nd minute goal from substitute Luyolo Mapolisa saw Black Leopards steal victory at the death when they beat AmaZulu 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium this afternoon.
It was certainly not the most entertaining first 45 minutes as neither side really impressed and goal mouth action was few and far between.
All the early pressure, though, did come from the home side but they really struggled to make their dominance and possession count.
Instead, it was the visiting team who had the best chance on goal in the opening minutes of the match.
In the fourth minute a great counter-attack move by Leopards concluded with Mongezi Bobe letting loose with a powerful shot from edge of box. Usuthu’s Tapuwa Kapini, however, was on hand to make a fantastic acrobatic save flinging himself to the left to turn the effort around the post.
That early scare, nonetheless, did not seem to discourage the Durban side as they continued to press forward in attack. Still, though, they lacked imagination in attack and could not find the right final ball to unlock a rather shabby looking Leopards defence.
In fact, Usuthu’s only real chance of the half came in the tenth minute and was a long range effort from Kagiso Senamela. His 35-yard shot, however, sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
If anything, Leopards, despite doing the majority of the defending, actually looked the more threatening in attack.
In the 14th minute Joshua Obaje came close for the visiting side when he saw his 22-yard grass-cutter skim the wrong side of the left-hand upright.
Five minutes later and Obaje had AmaZulu’s goalkeeper worried again when a 25-yard shot from the Leopards man had the beating of him, but luckily for Kapini, went over the crossbar.
The next chance of the game only came two minutes before the break and it was a woeful attempt from Bongani Mbhele on the left edge of the Leopard’s box. His shot caused more danger to the fans behind the goal than the actual goal itself.
After a slow start to the second 45 the half sprang into life in the 54th minute when Leopards’ Thabo Mongalo controlled the ball well inside the box and turned, but saw his 12-yard shot strike the side netting.
Three minutes later and Mbhele was gifted with a chance on goal when the AmaZulu man fired over from close range after a kind rebound left him with just the keeper to beat from ten-yards out.
In the 60th minute Leopards captain, Bobe, made his way into the box and fired a thunderbolt goalwards from 14-yards, but Kapini was there to tip the stinging effort over the crossbar for the home side.
Twelve minutes later and Tangeni Shipahu almost made an immediate impact as an Usuthu substitute. After only being on the field for a minute, Shipahu came within centimetres of the game’s first goal when he saw his 16-yard shot skim the top side of the crossbar.
The game, though, was perfectly summed up in the 80th minute for AmaZulu when two of their players in Stanton Lewis and Shipahu broke behind the Leopards defence.
Shipahu getting to the ball first and with just the keeper to beat fired his shot straight at Postnett Omony, instead of laying it off to an unmarked Lewis, and wasting the golden scoring opportunity.
Thereafter, AmaZulu continued to press forward and left themselves exposed at the back which Leopards capitalised in the dying seconds of the game.
In a swift counter-attack led by Bobe, the captain laid off a beautiful pass to find substitute Luyolo Mapolisa in space inside the box and he made no mistake firing the ball past a stranded Kapini to seal victory, 1-0.
In another Absa Premiership match played this afternoon, Mamelodi Sundowns moved to the second position after they beat Maritzburg United 1-0 at the Loftus Stadium in Tshwane.
AmaZulu (0) 0
Black Leopards (0) 1 (Mapolisa 92’)
AmaZulu: Kapini; Teyise (Shipahu 71’), Bukasa, Nyadombo, Chavula, Mokoro, Zhuwawo (G. Dlamini 64’), Kgatla, Mbhele (Zwane 80’), Lewis, Senamela
Leopards: Omony; Kwena, Xakane, Nyirenda, Tshabalala, Bobe, Masuku (Zulu 93’), Mabunda, Maake (Mapolisa 77’), Mongalo, Obaje (Vilakazi 46’)-Backpagepix