Ecstatic Da Gama into PSL
Keenin Lesch (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Cape Town club Vasco da Gama won a coveted spot in the Premier Soccer League when they beat Black Leopards 2-1 at Parow Park on Sunday afternoon.
Vasco triumphed 3-2 on aggregate following last week’s 1-1 draw.
Supersport reported that it was an incident-filled and action packed game in front of a capacity crowd which saw both sides giving their all, but in the end there could only be one winner as captain fantastic Keenin Lesch’s late penalty decided the tie.
With temperatures close to 40 degrees around kick off time, Vasco made a bright start with Jonathan Armogam forcing Leopards keeper Vusimusi Gwanya into making a near post save in the third minute.
Three minutes later Bradley August had an excellent chance following Michelin Kanika-Matondo’s cross, but his header was glanced across the face of goal.
The visiting side finally spent some time in the Vasco box with a couple of corners around the quarter-hour mark, with their first real attempt on goal coming in after 23 minutes when Walter Ramulondi’s 20-yard shot was saved by Postnett Omony.
Vasco’s physical presence always makes them dangerous from set pieces and after Armogam’s 30th minute header was cleared off the line, the home side took the lead when Bradley August headed home from a corner kick.
But the lead was to last barely a minute as Leopards levelled the scores when Lungu Grant nipped in at the near post to turn home a cross.
Vasco played with renewed vigour after the break, although it was Leopards who should have gone in front on 55 minutes, but Mahlatse Maake could not find a way past Postnett Omony from 12-yards out.
The game remained open and there for the taking, although gradually the home side began to exert more pressure, especially with aerial balls into the box via free kicks, crosses and corners.
Both substitutes - Geoffrey Serunkuma and Brian Kgafane - made a big impact when coming on around the hour mark and ultimately contributed to the victory. It was Serunkuma who earned an 83rd minute penalty after being taken down in the box by Robert Ng’ambi.
Lesch showed nerves of steel under pressure to slot home what proved to the winner and the most important goal in the club’s 30-year history.
There were some anxious moments later on for Vasco as Leopards flashed a few corners across goal.
The home side could however have added a third, but Kanika-Matondo scuffed a close range effort and Serunkuma hit the woodwork in the 89th minute.
Six minutes later it was however irrelevant as referee Daniel Bennett blew the whistle to signal a new chapter in Vasco da Gama’s history.