Black Leopards became the first side to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2020 Nedbank Cup with a 2-0 victory over ABC Motsepe League outfit Amavarara on Friday evening.
Leopards made five changes from their last-gasp defeat to Orlando Pirates, with Robert Ng’ambi the only regular, among Themba Ndlovu, Thivhavhudzi Ndou, Xolani Ndlovu and debutant, Togolese defender Joseph Douhadji.
Amavarara had a great chance to get the lead in the fifth minute but after Sihle Maso went through on goal on the blind side, his low shot was saved by Lidoda Duvha goalkeeper Rotshidzwa Muleka.
Alan Clark’s charges got the wake-up call and opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Lesedi Kapinga dribbled his way clear on goal on the right side of the box before firing into the top corner.
The ABC Motsepe League side played too deep and paid the price for it, as Themba Ndlovu doubled the lead for Leopards in the 26th minute with powerful half-volley that found the top corner at the near post.
Mzunani Mgwigwi’s troops were slowly getting out of the defensive shell in the closing phase of the first stanza but they lacked numbers upfront and could not threaten Leopards the back four.
Amavarara were better organised in the early exchanges of the second stanza, with Lidoda Duvha not finding the spaces they had in the first stanza in the last third.
However, Thabo Matlaba should have made added a third goal for Leopards in the 66th minute after going clear on the left side of the box but he dragged a low shot wide with only Amavarara goalkeeper Khanya Mini to beat.
Mgwigwi’s charges came very close to pulling a goal back in the last ten minutes after Khakha Velaphi made a blind run and latched onto a through ball behind the Leopards defence but he struck his shot just wide from close range.
The third-tier side did venture forward in desperation in the closing minutes but they lacked the killer instinct as Lidoda Duvha ran out 2-0 winners to claim a last-eight spot.
Here’s how they lined up:
Leopards: Muleka, Mudau, Matlaba, Ndou, Douhadji, Abubakar, Ng’ambi, Ndlovu, Ndlovu, Ngele, Kapinga.
Subs: Maduwa, Ndawonde, Makgetlwa, Mokoena, Mncwango, Katjiukua, Khutlang.
Amavarara: Mini, Ntsane, Mzazi, Kelepu, Twani, Gocina, Tonisi, Mbenyana, Maso, Gxaba, Lafota.
Subs: Gwangwa, Nqumashe, Thwani, Velaphi, Sizane, Dayimani, Mambeshu.