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Black Leopards relegated after away defeat to Cape Town City

02 June 2021 - 19:57 By sazi hadebe
Black Leopards will play in the GladAfrica Championship next season.
SOleopards0306a Black Leopards will play in the GladAfrica Championship next season.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Black Leopards were relegated for the third time from the top flight of South African football after losing 3-1 to Cape Town City in a penultimate DStv Premiership clash at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.

Leopards, who had spent just three years in the Premiership after gaining promotion from the GladAfrica Championship in the 2017-18 season, needed to beat City to keep their hopes alive of surviving on the last day of the season on Saturday.

But failure to protect their first-half lead and allowing City to come back with three goals in the second half means no matter what the Limpopo team do in their last game against Bloemfontein Celtic in Thohoyandou on Saturday they will not be able to beat the dreaded axe.

There was hope of Lidoda Duvha following their 2-1 victory over Kaizer Chiefs last week with another one against City when they took the lead via Isaac Masia’s header in the 17th minute.

But City came back stronger after the restart and equalised through Fragrie Lakay in the 57th minute before substitute Abdul Ajagun got the brace with goals in the 60th and 84th minutes.

Masia got an important header from Tumelo Khutlang’s well-taken free kick to give his side a 1-0 lead and hopes they could survive straight relegation if they defeated Celtic in Thohoyandou.

City, who had a returning coach Eric Tinkler on the bench for the first time after parting ways with Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink, were in control of the proceedings when Leopards got a set-piece from nowhere and Khutlang lifted the ball to Masia to score his first goal of the season.

Tinkler had vowed to fight for all three points in what was City’s midfielder Thabo Mokeke’s 100th Premiership match.

With this victory, The Citizens consolidated their place in the top eight in the Premiership and they could still move from seventh to fifth or sixth spot if some results of Saturday’s last round of fixtures favour them.

Tinkler’s team finish their campaign with a trip to league champions Mamelodi Sundowns.