Cape Town - An end-to-end clash at Thohoyandou Stadium saw Black Leopards claim a 2-1 victory over Stellenbosch in their Absa Premiership tie on Sunday.
The visitors were first to attempt a shot at goal as Iqraam Rayners unleashed one in the second minute of play but it went flying over the Leopards bar.
Stellies looked threatening again when a counter-attack resulted in a chance falling for Waseem Isaacs who just couldn't convert.
At the other end of the pitch the hosts created an opening for Lesedi Kapinga but defender Alan Robertson put his body on the line to block the attempt at goal.
The breakthrough arrived in the 35th minute when Mwape Musonda converted a penalty to give Lidoda Duvha the lead. A direct free kick hit Rayners' knee and deflected onto his arm, resulting in the spot-kick.
Leopards found their rhythm after taking the lead and carved the Stellenbosch defence open just shy of the half-time break as Nyiko Mobbie was dispossessed, but the eventual cut-back from the byline was intercepted by Zwelethu Ndlovu.
Ryan Moon put pressure on the home side shortly after the interval as he found a pocket of space goal side, but Leopards did well to maintain their cool and pressure the attacker into a mistake.
Leopards looked the better of the two teams as the second half wore on but it was Stellenbosch who levelled matters in the 79th minute. Rayners worked hard to get to the loose ball and crossed from the right wing. Moon pounced on the ball after a failed clearance and slotted it into the bottom right corner of the goal.
However, the travelers' celebrations were cut short as Leopards restored their lead in the 84th minute. Thabo Matlaba found the back of the net with a shot from the edge of the box.
Leopards were full of confidence as the game drew to a close and almost made it 3-1 in stoppage-time but Lee Langeveldt made a fantastic diving save.
In the dying minutes of the encounter Stellies came within inches of equalising again but Mpho Matsi hit the woodwork and Leopards held on for the three points.