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Thursday, December 7, 2023

DSTV Premiership: Sundowns continue to set the pace; Pirates edge Swallows for first win of the season

Six games took place over the weekend in South Africa’s top tier including an early season Soweto Derby between defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs. Once again, Sundowns proved that they are the team to beat on Sunday by defeating Amakhosi 2-0 on Sunday courtesy of an early headed goal by Grant Kekana and Peter Shalulile’s second half strike. With the 2021-22 DStv Premiership still in its early stages, Sundowns are top with seven points without a clear separation from the remainder of the pack.

After an early opportunity for Chiefs saw Keagan Dolly volley over just after five minutes, Sundowns found the opener a couple of minutes later. A well worked set piece led to a cross from the reliable left foot of Lyle Lakay that was headed into the top corner by new signing Kekana, marking his first goal since joining from SuperSport United.

Chiefs created plenty of opportunities for Dolly and striker Samir Nurkovic, but the finishing was lacking and Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango was not beaten despite the stern tests provided by the visitors. In the second half it was the Namibian star forward, Shalulile, who applied the finishing blow in the 63rd minute when he first timed Neo Maema’s cross into the roof of the net to put the Brazilians beyond reach. Chiefs had an opportunity to get a goal back late but Lebogang Manyama missed a penalty kick to sum up the day for Amakhosi.

Earlier in the weekend, another Soweto Derby took place with Orlando Pirates edging out Swallows FC 1-0. Tshegofatso Mabasa took a hard knock to the head but held firm to place a brilliant header into the top corner off a Vincent Pule cross. The 78th minute winner provided a measure of revenge after Swallows came out winners in their previous meeting during the MTN 8 quarterfinals.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Maritzburg United’s Travis Graham fed Richard Zuma and the forward slickly got around goalkeeper Oscarine Masuleke before applying his finish into the empty net to help The Team of Choice defeat Baroka FC 1-0 on the road. The victory gives Maritzburg their first three points of the season.

Top division newcomers Royal AM also got their first win and points in the DStv Premiership with a 1-0 win against Chippa United on Sunday. The hosts applied regular pressure to the Chippa goal with Uganda national team keeper Ismail Watenga saving on multiple occasions. However, Royal found their winner early in the second half when Riaan Hanamub handled the ball on the edge of the penalty area, leading to a penalty kick that South Africa national team player Victor Letsoalo calmly converted.

Highlights of all the games mentioned are below.

Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Kaizer Chiefs

Orlando Pirates 1-0 Swallows FC

Baroka FC 0-1 Maritzburg United

Royal AM 1-0 Chippa United