Leopards snatch late win

2011-11-20 18:09
Luyolo Mapolisa and Thabo Mongalo (Gallo Images)
Durban - In what many considered a ‘David v Goliath’ match, Black Leopards were able to frustrate the AmaZulu attack with some stubborn defence and stole victory at the death thanks to a goal from substitute Luyolo Mapolisa.
In a weekend where only five PSL teams managed to find the back of the net, Leopards were one of them, although their goal came in the 92nd minute of their Absa Premiership match played at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The match looked to be heading to a goalless draw until a swift counter-attack from the visitors, inspired by their captain Mogezi Bobe, saw them find the game’s solitary goal and hand Leopards only their second league win of the season.
It was clear from the outset of the match that AmaZulu were going to control the possession stakes and do most of the attacking, but Leopards seemed content to sit back in defence and try to hit on the counter-attack.
And Usuthu were well warned when in only the fourth minute of the game they nearly conceded because of a counter-attack. Bobe concluded a swift move from the back with a powerful shot from edge of box, but saw his effort well saved by an acrobatic Tapuwa Kapini.
In fact, while AmaZulu dictated the flow of the game, they were not looking to threatening in attack: the home side were simply unimaginative around the 18-yard area and failed to fashion any real chances on goal in the first 45.
Leopards had no such problem, all be it on the counter-attack, two such chances coming in the 14th and 19th minute.
First, 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. Then, five minutes later, Obaje had the AmaZulu keeper 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 second half followed a very similar pattern as the first, but with a few more chances in front of goal, and it was Leopards who looked the more likely to score.
In the 54th minute Thabo Mongalo struck the side netting from ten-yards out after initially controlling the ball well inside the box.
Six minutes later and 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.
AmaZulu’s best chance of the half came in the 80th minute when Tangeni Shipahu found himself behind the Leopards defence and with just the keeper to beat. Postnett Omony was quickly off his goal line to smother the attacker who chose to go for goal instead of laying the ball off to an unmarked Stanton Lewis who could have tapped the ball home.
Growing visibly more frustrated because they were unable to make their possession count, AmaZulu pushed forward even more and left themselves open at the back.
And Bobe didn’t need a second invitation to take full advantage as he broke in the dying seconds of the match before playing Mapolisa into space inside the 18-yard area.
The substitute grabbed his opportunity with both hands firing the ball home to give his side victory and only their second win in the league this season.
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
Omony; Kwena, Xakane, Nyirenda, Tshabalala, Bobe, Masuku (Zulu 93’), Mabunda, Maake (Mapolisa 77’), Mongalo, Obaje (Vilakazi 46’)

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