Absa Premiership

Polokwane City take Limpopo derby honours over Black Leopards


Cape Town - An action-packed Limpopo derby finished 2-1 on Sunday as Polokwane City bolstered their survival hopes by beating fellow strugglers Black Leopards.

The hosts created the first real chance in the third minute when they won a corner kick and picked out Edwin Gyimah in the box, but the defender sent his header over the bar.

At the other end of the pitch, City showed their intent as Salulani Phiri drove into space from a counter-attack before smashing a low shot just wide of the near post with great power.

Rise and Shine were on the attack again as Jabu Maluleke tried his luck with a savage strike from outside the box which warmed Rotshidzwa Muleka's hands as he tipped it over the top of the frame.

Shortly before the interval, Lidoda Duvha appeared to break the deadlock from a free kick. It was headed on for Mwape Musonda to nod home, but the flag went up for offside and the goal didn't stand.

Early in the second half, Leopards defender Khuliso Mudau made a sensational sliding tackle in his own area to dispossess Puleng Tlolane just in time. There were appeals for a penalty but they were rightly waved away by the referee.

The first goal arrived just shy of the hour mark as Leopards hit the front via an own goal. The ball was floated towards the far post where Mogakolodi Ngele drilled it and found Ayanda Nkili who inadvertently directed it into the back of his own net.

To the delight of the home support, Lidoda Duvha's lead only lasted a few minutes. Charlton Mashumba pounced on a loose ball in the Leopards area before firing home with a classy left-footed strike that left the goalkeeper with no chance to make the stop.

The hosts then had a terrific chance to take the lead for the first time when substitute Bongile Booi made space for himself to shoot, but he lost his composure at the last second and sent the ball flying well over the top of the bar.

In the 83rd minute, substitute Sibusiso Hlubi made an immediate impact as he scored out of the blue. Shortly after replacing Tlolane, Hlubi made space to shoot from 25 yards out and struck it with superb power to find the inside of the far post, securing all three points for City in their battle for Premiership survival.

City's win lost some of its sheen in stoppage time when Kabelo Mahlasela was shown his second yellow card to reduce the hosts to 10 men, but they held on for the crucial victory.

The result sees City climb out of the danger zone and up to 13th in the standings, where they are three points clear of Leopards who are in 15th.

- TEAMtalk media

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