Johannesburg - A purposeful and determined Black Leopards have proved too hot to handle for Milano United as Lidoda Duvha ran out 2-1 winners in a promotion play-off game in Giyani on Sunday.
It was a deserved win for Kosta Papic's side, who looked dangerous in attack throughout the 90 minutes in what was a cool afternoon in the Limpopo province.
The first 15 minutes belonged to Leopards as the Cape side battled to come to grips with the pace of the game early on, struggling also to get the ball under control on the bouncy Giyani surface.
Lidoda Duvha took the lead after just seven minutes when Rendani Ndou played in a killer ball across the Milano goal-line, and Taariq Fielies turned the ball into his own net from a yard out.
After the goal Leopards continued to push forward as striker Leonard Ntshangase sent two low drives whistling just past the left-hand upright.
Against the run of play, Milano were to draw level in the 32nd minute when Fielies got on the end of a Nazier Jacobs free kick, picking out the top corner of the net with a perfectly flighted header.
The goal brought about a renewed sense of confidence amongst Theo Hempe's charges, who had a Devon Saal shot blocked at the back post before Lesvin Stoffels was unable to climb enough to keep a header on target.
Leopards however used the break to regroup and again looked dangerous when they came out for the second half. It was no surprise when they reclaimed the lead on 52 minutes, after Maboke Matlakala fired in a left-footed drive from 20-yards out into the far corner of the net.
Milano's response was swift, but Leopards keeper Jacob Mokhasi made two saves in quick succession to keep out Brandon Theron's stinging shot and then Junaid Sait's downwards header.