Johannesburg - Black Leopards progressed to the last 16 of the CAF Confederations Cup despite playing to a 2-2 draw with St Eloi Lupopo in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, on Friday.
Leopards went to Lubumbashi carrying 4-2 first leg lead attained in Giyani two weeks ago which sees them win the tie 6-4 on aggregate to set up a date with Warri Wolves of Nigeria.
The hosts began the game like a house on fire but it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 16th minute through David Zulu who had the easiest of the tasks to round the goalkeeper Kakinda Kaniki before tucking the ball into the back of the net.
In a bizarre turn of events two Lupopo fans ran from the stands to the Leopards goal and appeared to sprinkle some liquid on the net and ran off the pitch back to the crowd but no action was being taken against the perpetrators.
This move did not seem to help Lupopo as teams went to the break with Leopards leading 1-0, coached by stand-in mentor Abel Makhubele who was in charge of the team as result of Vladislav Heric's absence.
The Serbian mentor remained in South Africa after draw-back from taking a yellow fever vaccination. The second half was a tame event until the 53rd minute when the referee adjudged that Moses Kwena had handled the ball inside the box and awarded the penalty to the hosts.
Carrington Gomba stepped up and beat Posnett Omony from the spot kick to put the two teams level.
That equaliser drew some life in the Lupopo team.
Lidhoda Duvha skipper Mongezi Bobe’s miscue inside the box was collected by Omony but the referee adjudged that it was a back pass and gave Lupopo an indirect free kick, which substitute Mpiana Motiti thrust home to make it 2-1 for the home team.
Then the referee added eight minutes of injury time and Lupopo continued to surge forward in search of the third goal which would have seen them win the encounter on the away goals rule.
After a defensive mix-up inside the box, the ball fell kindly substitute Kingston Nkhatha who blasted the ball into the back of the net to put the scores level at 2-2. The linesman however ruled for offside but the referee overruled him and awarded the goal.
Leopards will now face Nigeria’s Warri Wolves who beat FC Kallon of Sierra Leone 2-1 at the Warri City Stadium.
CAF Confederations Cup first round, second leg results on Friday:
At Warri, Nigeria
Warri Wolves (NGR) 2 (Atulewa 52, Okoyoh 78) FC Kallon (SLE) 0
Warri win 2-0 on aggregate
At Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
St Eloi Lupopo (COD) 2 (Gomba 16, Mpiana 66) Black Leopards (RSA) 2 (Zulu 53, Nkhatha 90
Leopards win 6-4
ASEC Mimosas (CIV) 2 (Seri 35, 43) Etoile Filante (BUR) 0
ASEC win 4-2
At Setif, Algeria
Entente Setif (ALG) 3 (Aouadia 35, 47, Benmoussa 54) Simba (TAN) 1 (Okwi 90+1)
Simba win on away goals after 3-3 tie