Black Leopards defeated Moroka Swallows 1-0 to move to the top of the PSL/NFD log standings and maximised their chances of returning to the PSL on Sunday afternoon at Thohoyandou Stadium.
A brilliant goal by Roggert Nyundu in the 32nd minute handed Lidoda Duvha sweet revenge against Craig Rosslee’s men after losing 2-0 at Dobsonville Stadium two weeks ago.
They now have seven points at the top of the promotional play-off table.
Following the loss, the Dube Birds are demoted to the bottom of the standings with three points and the loss ends their chances of maintaining top flight status.
The match started off on a high as both sides displayed attacking football, however, it was the hosts who threatened first when a poor effort from the goal scorer in the 15th minute saw his set-piece straight to goalkeeper, Greg Etafia.
In the 26th minute, Zeca Marques’ men continued to pile the pressure on Swallows when they received a corner kick, but the Soweto-based side's defence manned by Ashraf Hendricks and Shere Lekgothoane dealt with danger.
Just after the 30-minute mark, the hosts spurred on by the huge crowd managed to beat Etafia when Nyundu appeared in the middle of the park to unleash a rocket which gave the Nigerian no chance to break the deadlock.
A few minutes later, Rosslee’s charges were under pressure when they conceded a free-kick. Sphelele Ntshangase delivered a great curler which Etafia parried over for a corner.
As both teams went to dressing room with the hosts leading by 1-0, the Dube Birds came back stronger with substitute Luyolo Nomandela seeing his effort saved by keeper Avhashoni Tshinuna a minute after the restart.
With the clock fast working against the visitors after the hour mark, Nyundu nearly made it two when he was denied by Etafia in the 66th minute from a set-piece as he was looking for the top corner, the Nigerian was equal the task.
Two minutes later, a good run from Nomandela saw the Mamelodi Sundowns’ man combining well with Siyabonga Nomvethe who laid it back for the oncoming Lerato Chabangu, however ‘All You Need Is Love’ couldn’t keep his effort low as it flew over Tshinuna’s posts.
In the last 10 minutes, both camps ushered instructions into the field but it was the homeside who was comfortable and defended well as they walked away with the three points.
However, Marques will hope that Swallows defeat Jomo Cosmos at Dobsonville stadium on Wednesday night because Ezenkosi have four points and are placed at position two.
Black Leopards: 1 (Nyundu 32’)
Moroka Swallows: 0
Black Leopards: Tshinuna, Nyundu, Nyirenda, Maphangule, Ntshangase, Mabotja, Mumuni, Madimba (Shivambu 57’), Ndou, Munyai, Mahangwahaya (Munganga 90+2’)
Moroka Swallows: Etafia, Mngomezulu, Hendricks (Chabangu 54’), Isaacs, Lekgothoane, Baloyi, Sibande Mandic (Phalane 45’), Wana, Nomvete, Yende (Nomandela 45’)