Leopards ousted by Al-Merreikh
Black Leopards have been held to a 0-0 draw by Sudanese side Al-Merreikh at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday to end their participation in the 2012 Confederation Cup.
Lidoda Duvha trailed 3-2 from the first leg in Omdurman a fortnight ago, but could not force a victory on home soil in front of a host of dignitaries on a freezing Johannesburg afternoon.
Al-Merreikh now advance to the group stages of the competition, and perhaps deservedly so against a Leopards side who failed to fire until the closing 10 minutes of each half.
In all they managed 15 shots at goal and had 53 percent of the possession, but visiting goalkeeper Akram Salim only had one save of note to make.
That came on 54 minutes when Raymond Monama’s cross from the left found Rodney Ramagalela completely unmarked, but the big striker could only direct his free header straight at Akram.
A metre either side of the goalkeeper and he would have given Leopards the lead, but his wayward direction summed up the afternoon for the Limpopo side.
Skipper Mongezi Bobe was probably their best player, finding space on the right and forcing a comfortable save from Akram with a header at the back-post.
Al-Merreikh have now won just two of their last 30 matches away from home in African club competition, and they had little ambition to go for the victory here either.
From the start they set up their stall to frustrate Leopards and it proved a tactic that worked, with the home side reduced to pot-shots from distance that were always going wide.
Home goalkeeper Azwindini Maphaha did not have a notable save to make and for the most part Lidoda Duvha looked solid at the back. It was going forward where their troubles lay.
The dream of a historic run to the group stages of the Confederation Cup is now over for Leopards, but they can take plenty of confidence from their performances in this year’s competition which saw them oust Zimbabwe’s Motor Action, St Eloi Lupopo of DR Congo and Warri Wolves from Nigeria.