Kaizer Chiefs were pushed into extra-time by Black Leopards but walked away with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win in the opening round of the Nedbank Cup at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.
Tefu Mashamaite had the pick of the first half action when he thundered a shot goalwards from a Chiefs free-kick.
The defender received a pass inside the area and blasted a swerving effort, but was denied by an equally fine save from goalkeeper Jacob Mokhasi, who dived up and to his left.
There was end-to-end action after the interval but neither side managed to really threaten the opposition goal, while Chiefs were being frustrated by a resilient effort at the back from the Leopards defensive unit.
Amakhosi were not having it all their own way as Leopards continued to attack the PSL giants, with stand-in goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo looking shaky in his goal.
Leopards were looking the team more likely to score after the hour mark and really took the game to their visitors.
Khuzwayo was kept busy at the back as the game headed into the latter stages, making three vital saves, including a fingertip stop from Karabo Tshepe’s long-range effort which looked destined to end up in the back of the net.
Morgan Gould then made a match-winning goal-line clearance in the 90th minute as the home side came agonisingly close to taking the lead and taking the game away from Chiefs.
Lidoda Duvha successfully negotiated their way past 90 minutes and the teams regrouped as the game headed into extra-time.
Second half replacement Matthew Rusike had the best chance in the 97th minute when he forced a solid stop from Mokhasi, who punched away the Zimbabwean’s drilled attempt at goal.
Leopards held on for as long as they could but ultimately succumbed as Musona put away a neat finish 10 minutes from the end and handed Chiefs the win.
Siphiwe Tshabalala passed a quick ball to the striker after Leopards failed to clear a dangerous ball inside their area, allowing the Soweto giants to dispatch the opener and spared blushes, as they began their hunt for a second successive cup title.