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SITEKI – Defending champions Royal leopard were stunned just like Japan shocking Germany in yesterday’s opening Group E World Cup game in Qatar.

Royal Leopard suffered yet another blow at KaLanga Technical Centre when they lost 1-2 to determined rookies Tambuti in an MTN Premier League encounter played yesterday afternoon. Goals from Tambuti players Msimisi Motsa and Issa Serry proved to be the big difference for the hosts. Leopard’s solidarity goal scored by Ghana-born import Richard Arthur could not help the defending champions get any points in a thrilling game that had a handful of supporters.


Tambuti applied some pressure on Leopard from the first whistle and the first real chance of the game fell for Andile Gadlela in the fourth minute who had his shot over the bar. It was Tambuti again in the sixth minute through Serry  who ran in behind the Leopard defence, outpacing Thami Zulu, but his looped effort was parried away by on rushing goalkeeper Mlamuli Makhanya and the visitors survived a scare at the back. Leopard had a chance of their own but they squandered a good scoring opportunity when an unmarked Muzi Dlamini opted to pass the ball which was cleared away.

The deadlock was broken in the ninth minute after Leopard were caught napping at the back and Motsa pounced onto a loose ball and volleyed it past Makhanya to make it 1-0 to Tambuti. Workaholic Tambuti player Motsa proved to be a thorn in the Leopard defence and he came close to scoring again when he connected with Banele Shongwe’s cross, but Makhanya was well-positioned to make a smart save. In the second-half, Tambuti continued to work tirelessly and were full value for their second goal when Serry increased the gap once more in the 53rd minute after being played through after a well taken combination. He was played in the box by his teammate Sanele Mngomezulu to make it 2-0 to Tambuti.

The visitors changed gears when Tambuti scored their second goal and started to control the midfield, forcing the home side’s defence to make mistakes. Diminutive second-half substitute Bongani Ndzimandze inspired Leopard’s revival with a string of calculated passes, as the police side  regained composure in the closing stages — and the goal did come through striker Richard Arthur in the 83rd minute after brilliantly hitting the ball with a volley to make it 2-1.


In the latter stages of the match, Leopard looked likely to equalise after referee Thembinkosi Ginindza added 11 minutes and Senzelwe Dlamini’s chance in the 98th  minute was timely blocked through the resilient efforts of defenders Siboniso Shiba and Sandile Zwane and Tambuti were able to hold on. Tambuti held out to a deserved win for the first time this season, which takes them on the same points with Leopard and Seven Dreams, who are also both on four points. This defeat is a big blow to the defending champions who had high hopes of closing the gap on log Leaders Young Buffaloes who are on 14 points.

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