We suffered our second loss for the season to Black Leopards this afternoon at Emirates Airline Park. It was a physical game that saw both sides throwing everything into the time on the park.
Looking at the statistic of the game, around 60 percent of the play took place in the midfield, with both sides looking to gain possession and pull together some attacking play. This saw some enterprising attacks from both sides, and a number of quick action plays into the 18 yard box.
In the 17th minute, we were awarded a penalty after a hand ball call in the box from the referee. Knox Mutizwa had done well to get behind the lines, but did not have space to take a shot. He played back to Makhubela who struck the ball from just outside the box. Leopards defence however had an unintentional hand ball, and rightfully we were awarded the penalty. Mutizwa converted the chance for the lead.
Almost 10 minutes later we were defending one of Black Leopards attacking plays. The ball was played back by Leopards and its path was through Divine Lunga. The referee deemed him to have played a hand ball in the box, when it was clear that it had come off his leg. A penalty was awarded to the visiting team and Musonda converted that to equalise.
After the break both sides fought hard to find an opportunity to take the lead. Ntsako Makhubela put an effort wide after shooting on the turn, Mutizwa was denied a number of times by King Ndlovu between the sticks as well. We showed determination in securing a win, but could just not convert the chances.
Losing Sibisi to injury also put some pressure on the defence. In the first minute of extra time, we conceded a free kick just outside the box. Hlongwane took the set piece, swung the ball past the wall but hit the woodwork. Mbaeva was not able to hold onto the ball, and Mwape Musonda netted the winner for Leopards.
We will have to pull together over the next two days in our preparation for Monday nights game against Mamelodi Sundowns.