Mamelodi Sundowns were matched blow for blow by Black Leopards and in the end it was the 10-man Brazilians who smash and grabbed a late 2-1 Premier Soccer League win at Thohoyandou Stadium on Wednesday.
Ovidy Karuru put Leopards ahead seconds after the restart for the second half. Peter Shalulile equalised with a spectacular scissor-kick and scored the winner deep into added time.
Sundowns were reduced to 10 men when centreback Mothobi Mvala was dismissed 25 minutes from time.
Relegation-battling Leopards were playing their first game under caretaker-coach Lehlohonolo Seema after Dylan Kerr’s parting of ways on Monday, and the players appeared to be out to impress the new man in charges.
As Sundowns have laboured to four consecutive draws, their coaching trio of Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela has drawn criticism for perceived tinkering — a situation not helped by injuries and Covid-19 precautionary measures.
On Wednesday 21-year-old Siphesihle Mkhize came in for Thapelo Morena at right-back. Gaston Sirino, having not done much wrong in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Moroka Swallows, found himself on the bench, Shalulile returning to the starting XI.
Leopards matched the Brazilians for chances in the opening half. At the start of the second they might have felt they deserved a goal. Lidoda Duvha got one 28 sec from the restart.
From the kickoff they worked the ball down the right, fed Rodrick Kabwe outside the box who slipped a pass to Sibusiso Khumalo on the left, who struck low. The path of the strike beat Onyango, and Karuru was on hand to stretch for a finish into an open goal.
The match was held up for seven minutes after an ugly clash of heads between Leopards players Sibongiseni Mthethwa and striker Lifa Hlongwane who was taken away by ambulance.
Soon after the restart, substitute Sirino took a throw-in on the left, the ball was worked back to the Uruguayan, who squared for Shalulile whose first strike hit the leg of Tebogo Makobela. The ball looped up for the Namibian to blast a scissor-kick past goalkeeper King Ndlovu.
Moments later, from a game of pinball in the centre circle the ball squirted to Ramagalela on the wrong side of Mvala and free to run through. Mvala brought the Leopard down, and referee Philangenkosi Khumalo flashed red.
Deep in injury time substitute Lesedi Kapinga skipped past two challenges in the centre but his low shot was blocked, after which the predatory Shalulile pounced on the loose ball to strike the winner.
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