Mwape Musonda scored twice as Black Leopards beat Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila in their PSL promotion/relegation playoff match on Saturday.
Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila will take part in next season’s regardless of what happens in the playoffs having bought Bidvest Wits’ PSL franchise.
Black Leopards beat TTM to leap towards safety
Musonda and his Lidoda Duvha cohorts ensured that the what-ifs regarding what would happen should TTM have won promotion via the playoff after already buying their way into the top-flight now seem almost sure to remain hypothetical.
The victory keeps Black Leopards at the head of the PSL playoff mini-table, three points ahead of Ajax Cape Town, who beat TTM in the opening game of the round-robin.
King Ndlovu carried his excellent form from the bio-bubble into this match and produced a stunning save to deny TTM’s Naeem Amoojee.
Moments later, Musonda found himself in the right place at the right time as he nodded home from a corner to give Black Leopards the lead on 20 minutes.
First-half substitute Lucky Khumalo appeared to have Ndlovu beaten from outside the box, but his effort flew just wide of the Black Leopards goal.
The closing phase of the first half was a frantic one with Musonda netting again only to have the goal ruled out due to offside.
Molibedi Mokoena picked out Thembisani Nevhulamba in the penultimate minute of first-half regulation time, with the forward sweeping the ball beyond Ndlovu to level the scores.
But that parity was short-lived with Black Leopards again exposing TTM from a corner in stoppage time. Isaac Masia outjumped the mob to head a corner in at the near post.
Black Leopards took a 2-1 lead into half time.
Khumalo again found himself in a position to shoot ten minutes after the break but having fired narrowly wide with his first effort; his second flew over the top of the goal.
TTM spurned another chance to draw level when Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo headed into the woodwork.
Musonda scored the match’s fourth headed goal in stoppage time to put the result beyond doubt and put Black Leopards in prime position to retain their PSL status next season.
Black Leopards can seal their place in next season’s PSL when they face Ajax Cape Town on Friday 18 September. TTM face Ajax on Tuesday 15 September, they are out of the race but the result will determine what Leopards and the Cape side would need to do to win promotion.
Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila squad
TTM: Mamudzidi, Mashele, Mabotja, Nyadombo, Thangwane, Amoojee, Mbandlwa, Hlongo, Ndlondlo, Mokoena, Nevhulamba.
Subs: Ramaele, Masegela, Makgoga, Moremedi, Dzaga, Khumalo, Mandlazi, Ndebele, Makhubu.
Black Leopards squad
Leopards: K.Ndlovu, Mudau, Zulu, Masia, Ndou, Abubakar, Ng’ambi, Thutlwa, Matlaba, Makgetlwa, Musonda.
Subs: Mendes, Ndawonde, Douhadji, Modiba, X. Ndlovu, Mashoene, Mokoena, T. Ndlovu, Khutlang.