Full Time: Milano United 0-1 Black Leopards
Date: 28 May 2014
Venue: Athlone Stadium
A single goal from second half substitute Rendani Ndou kept Black Leopards hopes of promotion into the Absa Premiership alive when they beat Milano United 1-0 in a promotion/relegation playoff match at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
The win sees them up to six points in the mini-league playoff table, only a point behind the leaders Polokwane City with all to play for when the two meet each other on Sunday in the final promotion/relegation playoff match.
Milano started the more positive of the two sides and had their first shot on goal in the third minute, but Devon Saal fired his low 30-yard attempt just wide of the goal.
Three minutes later a swift passing movement by Milano saw Saal in space on the edge of the box, but this time, while his shot was on target, his effort was superbly saved by Jacob Mokhasi.
In the 14th minute Thibang Phete met a Milano corner with a strong header, but his eight-yard effort struck the side-netting.
As the half progressed Leopards began to find their footing in the match and had their first real effort on goal in the 16th minute, but Siphelele Ntshangase’s powerful low shot from the edge of the box was well-saved by Moegamat Goldman, diving low and to his left to tip ball around the post.
Ten minutes later Goldman had to be at his best again when he saved a stinging 24-yard free-kick from Lebogang Mabotja.
In the 34th minute Lesvin Stoffels had the best chance of the half when he met a cross from the right with a good header, but his 12-yard effort skimmed the wrong side of the post.
Stoffels was also afforded the last chance of the half when again he met a cross from the right, but his free header in the 44th minute went narrowly over the crossbar.
The start of the second half saw Leopards with the first chance on goal when substitute Ndou met a right-wing free-kick, but his 12-yard header was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Goldman.
A minute later Milano should have taken the lead when Saal broke behind the Leopards defence, but he was superbly denied in a one-on-one situation by goalkeeper Mokhasi.
Leopards began to push numbers forward and were almost caught on the counter-attack in the 58th minute when Stoffels broke into the right side of the box, but fired his 16-yard shot centimetres wide.
In the 80th minute Leopards were afforded a piece of good luck when Ndou forced the ball home after latching onto a cross from the right, his shout bouncing off a defender and into the net from 14-yards out, 1-0.
Leopards controlled the remainder of the match to hold on for a crucial win in the mini-league playoff.