Leopards held by Stellenbosch

Lidoda Duvha spurned a number of chances, coming closest to scoring when Ivan Mahangwahaya was denied by the crossbar on the hour mark at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Stellenbosch - who had Diego Brown sent off in the 88th minute - opened the Play-offs with a 2-2 draw against Baroka at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The three teams are vying to join Thanda Royal Zulu in the topflight, who were automatically promoted as National First Division champions at the expense of relegated Highlands Park.

Bakgaga were given another shot at survival after finishing second-from-bottom in the Premiership in 2016/17.

There were chances early on in Limpopo, as Stellenbosch's Junaid Sait directed a free header wide from close range off a delivery from Brown, while at the other end Zambian forward Mwape Musonda thumped his strike over on the run after initially doing well to steal possession.

Lidoda Duvha dictated affairs although the visitors nearly pulled ahead on the counter midway through the first stanza, however, Senegalese hitman Mame Niang steered a tame effort off-target.

Leopards almost took the lead in the 32nd minute, but Musonda blasted over on the rebound following a fine one-on-one save from Zimbabwean goalkeeper Washington Arubi.

Lebogang Mabotja likewise had a guilt-edged opportunity for the home side just before the interval, but again Sammy Troughton's side survived the scare.

Leopards continued to dominate after the interval, as Mahangwahaya was foiled by the woodwork following a delightful scooped pass over the top from the influential Siphelele Ntshangase.

Ntshangase also threatened in the latter stages as he squeezed a free-kick just wide of Arubi's goal.

Stellenbosch, formerly known as Vasco da Gama, saw out the final few minutes with 10 men after Brown received a second booking.

Leopards: Muleka, Munyai, Munganga, Ndou, Mabotja, Mkhulise, Abubakar, Nange, Mahangwahaya, Musonda, Ntshangase.

Stellenbosch: Arubi, Lecki, Booysen, Sait, Hadebe, Moroole, Brown, Adonis, Mekoa, Mabua, Niang.