Vasco da Gama earns its first season in the Premier Soccer League after 30 years of campaign

2010-03-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Cape Town will have three clubs in the Premier Soccer League next season after Vasco da Gama beat Black Leopards 2-1 in the National First Division play-off final at Parow Park Stadium yesterday afternoon.

Vasco, who join Santos and Ajax Cape Town as Mother City teams in the PSL, triumphed 3-2 on aggregate following last week’s 1-1 draw in Limpopo.

Vasco have campaigned in the first division for a number of years and next season will be their first in the PSL.

With temperatures close to 40ºC at kick-off, Vasco made a bright start with Jonathan Armogam forcing Leopards goalkeeper Vusimusi Gwanya into a near-post save in the third minute.

Three minutes later Vasco’s Bradley August had an excellent chance following Michelin Kanika-Matondo’s cross, but his header was glanced across the face of goal.

The visitors 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 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 August headed home from a corner kick.

But the lead lasted barely a minute as Leopards levelled the score when Lungu Grant turned 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 Omony 12-yards out.

Gradually the home side began to exert more pressure, especially with aerial balls into the box via freekicks, 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 Vasco’s victory. It was Serunkuma who earned an 83rd minute penalty after being taken down in the box by Robert Ng’ambi.

Captain fantastic Keenin Lesch showed nerves of steel under pressure to slot home what proved the most important goal in the club’s 30-year history.

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