Kaizer Chiefs and Black Leopards played out to a 1-1 draw in their Absa Premiership clash at a packed-out Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Chiefs came into the encounter looking to bounce back from their shock 1-0 loss to Baroka last weekend, which left the Soweto giants in seventh, some way off their rivals Orlando Pirates at the summit of the league.
Ernst Middendorp’s team were therefore targeting nothing less than three points as they aim to climb the league table in the closing weeks.
Leopards, however, were also in need of points prior to kick-off after losing two matches on the spin, which has left them in 12th position and perilously close to the teams at the bottom.
Middendorp reacted to the loss against Baroka by making seven changes to the starting eleven with goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi , Khama Billiat, Willard Katsande, Lorenzo Gordinho, Reeve Frosler, Kabelo Mahlasela and Mario Booysen all drafted into the lineup.
Leopards started well at the lively Thohoyandou Stadium as they looked to take advantage of the home crowd, but it was Amakhosi who opened the scoring through Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana. The midfielder got on the end of a Mahlasela cutback before firing his shot into the bottom corner.
Lifa Hlongwane, though, had the home crowd on their feet in the 23rd minute as he rose highest to head home Marks Munyai’s well-delivered set-piece to draw Lidoda Duvha level.
The game had opened up at this point with chances falling to both sides. First Booysens produced a stunning block to deny Mwape Musonda what looked a certain goal, before Benard Parker’s effort drifted just wide after he tried to lob his shot past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Neither side could find the lead before the break, though, as the score remained locked at 1-1 after 45 minutes.
Chiefs may not have started the second half particularly well, but both Billiat and Dax were denied by some brilliant last-ditch defending from the Leopards backline, who were throwing their bodies in the way of everything.
The tempo of the game began to drop off as the sapping heat in Limpopo began to take its effects on the away side, who looked to keep possession, but couldn’t produce any penetration.
Karabo Tshepe then had a golden chance to fire Leopards into the lead with 10 minutes to play when he received the ball unmarked at the edge of the area, but his low shot curled just wide.
Both sides pushed forward in the latter stages looking for a winner, but it was not forthcoming, with both sides having to settle for a draw.
Photo: Kabelo Leputu/BackpagePix
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