It has been an uncharacteristic slide in form in recent weeks for defending South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, but the Brazilians emerged with an important 0-3 road win at Orlando Pirates to continue Sundowns’ trend of stepping it up for the important games. A first-half with little in the way of opportunities for either side led to a dominant second-half from Downs to score three goals and outclass the Bucs. Central defender Ricardo Nascimento started the scoring from the penalty spot in the 57th minute before Peter Shalulile and Lyle Lakay finished off Pirates with late goals.
The result for Sundowns tempered the enthusiasm from AmaZulu, who had taken the league’s top spot earlier in the weekend with a 0-1 win on the road against Golden Arrows. Despite persistent rumors of manager Benni McCarthy leaving soon to coach the South Africa national team, Usuthu’s fine form is becoming a constant in the league and now AmaZulu appear to be the lone legitimate challengers to Sundowns at the top of the table. Veteran midfielder Amigo Memela scored in first-half stoppage time with a low shot from outside the box to provide the game’s only goal.
The draws keep on coming for Kaizer Chiefs. Even a dream start with two goals in the opening 15 minutes was not enough for Amakhosi to play down to their opponents and come out with a disappointing 2-2 result in the end at Bloemfontein Celtic. Happy Mashiane opened the scoring in the third minute with an excellent free-kick goal before Eric “Tower” Mathoho rose above everyone to head in a cross just after 13 minutes. However, Neo Maema got one back for Bloem Celtic before the hosts found their equalizer early in the second-half from the penalty spot.
Looking at the bottom of the table, Black Leopards scored a critical win over fellow relegation battlers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila on Saturday by a 2-1 scoreline. It was Leopards’ first win in over two months and puts an end to a nine-match winless streak. Despite Sanele Mathenjwa’s second-half winner, however, Leopards still have plenty of work to do with a six-point gap still separating them from safety. TTM remain four points ahead of last-placed Leopards and two points behind Chippa United and safety.
Highlights from all four games are below.