'Downs top table after dream week

2015-12-21 08:32
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns completed a wonderful week by taking over the Premiership leadership on Sunday through a 2-0 home victory over Orlando Pirates.

The Pretoria club lifted the Telkom Cup trophy five days ago after a 3-1 triumph over Kaizer Chiefs in Durban.

Chiefs then did Sundowns a huge favour by overcoming long-time championship pacesetters Wits 2-1 in Cape Town Saturday.

That result left record six-time Premiership title-holders Sundowns needing maximum points against 2015 CAF Confederation Cup runners-up Pirates to overtake Wits on goal difference.

Colombian Leonardo Castro gave Sundowns a 16th-minute lead and Zimbabwean Khama Billiat doubled the advantage on 64 minutes.

Sundowns (plus 12 goal difference) and Wits (plus 10) have 26 points from 12 matches after the final Premiership fixtures of this year.

Mpumalanga Black Aces, not a club traditionally involved in title races, are third with 24 points after winning 1-0 at home to Ajax Cape Town courtesy of a goal from Zambian veteran Collins Mbesuma.

Defending champions Chiefs lie fourth with 21 points and Platinum Stars fifth with 19 after being held 1-1 by bottom club Maritzburg United.

A long, pin-point pass from Keagan Dolly set Billiat free and after outpacing recalled Rooi Mahamutsa. the Zimbabwean passed for Castro to score from close range.

Castro returned the favour in the second half, chesting a misdirected Pirates clearance into the path of Billiat, who burst through to beat goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane at Loftus Versfeld stadium.

"Billiat was outstanding in a good team performance," said Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, "and we adjusted our tactics several times to counter various threats."

Angry Pirates coach Eric Tinkler said: "That was our worst defensive performance of the year and all of us, myself included, must share the blame."

A scrappy 72nd-minute goal by centre-back Lorenzo Gordinho gave Chiefs a desperately-needed win over Wits at Cape Town Stadium.

Knowing a loss would leave them 11 points adrift of Wits, Chiefs were a much improved side from that which had two penalties saved in the League Cup defeat.

Zimbabwean Willard Katsande, who took neither of the final spot-kicks, succeeded with a first-half penalty for Chiefs, firing a rising shot past Moeneeb Josephs into the middle of the net.

Wits levelled before half-time with a classic route-one goal as Daine Klate connected with a long kick from Josephs and lobbed the ball over Chiefs goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse.

Gordinho, recently promoted to the first team ahead of expensive close-season signing Siyanda Xulu, claimed the winner by poking the ball over the line after a goalmouth scramble.

"Sometimes you have to grind out a victory," admitted Chiefs' coach Steve Komphela. "It was not pretty, but we desperately needed maximum points."

Wits coach Gavin Hunt complained about both goals his team conceded: "I did not think the penalty was justified and Gordinho was offside."

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  pitso mosimane  |  soccer

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