Black Leopards registered their first home victory of the Absa Premiership season after edging Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Thuso Phala, Khuliso Mudau, Andriamirado Andrianarimanana as well as Thabiso Mokoena started for Leopards, while Zimbabwean defender Ronald Pfumbidzai returned for Celtic.
Leopards nearly grabbed a first minute opener after sloppy handling from Jackson Mabokgwane, who got bailed out by his defence. However, the home side atoned after nine minutes when Mwape Musonda finished from poor defending after a looping ball from Phala
Leopards failed to double their tally on 20 minutes as Musonda bundled off target with a wayward finish from Lesedi Kapinga’s through ball.
Victor Letsoalo came off to bench to replace Lantshane Phalane seven minutes to halftime, as Celtic looked to swing the balance of play in their favour. And the change nearly worked as the visitors earned a penalty for a foul in the area five minutes to the half, but Pfumbidzai went fired straight at Mendes.
Both teams made a slow start to the second stanza, as little attacking initiative from either end materialised. Leopards made their first change on 62 minutes, with Kapinga making way for Tshwarelo Bereng in the last line of attack.
The context of the match remained with the hosts, who maintained the attacking and defensive balance effectively well. Celtic pushed strongly for the equaliser late on in the match, but the home side had all the brakes out to preserve their advantage.
Leopards provided equal offensive danger and nearly sealed the match in the final eight minutes, but Dax failed to profit from close range.
Nevertheless, the home side went forth to collect their second win of the season to move up to 12th place on the league standings.
Leopards: Mendes, Mudau, Zulu, Katjiukua, Masia , Mokoena, Andrianarimanana, Phala , Musonda, Hlongwane, Kapinga.
Subs: Muleka, ,Bereng, Abubakar, Ndou, Malajila, Mhlongo .
Celtic: Mabokgwane, Mashikinya, Maema, Rikhotso, Baloyi, Mahashe, Mabena, Luthuli, Pfumbidzai, Phalane, Maloisane.
Subs: Mpoto, Tchilimbou, Potsane, Letsoalo, Ndou, Ngobeni, Tani.