Absa Premiership

PSL hits halfway mark

Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns clung to top place in the South African Premiership this weekend with the help of two hand-written notes while Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates lost.

Record six-time champions Sundowns scored just before and after half-time to defeat co-tenants SuperSport United 2-0 at Lucas Moripe Stadium in a Pretoria derby.

Recent England-born signing James Keene grabbed a hat-trick as Wits trounced visiting Polokwane City 5-0 at Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg to stay second one point behind.

Veteran Eleazar Rodgers bagged a late brace to give Platinum Stars a shock 2-1 victory over title-holders Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in a Cape Town Stadium thriller.

A disastrous domestic season for 2015 CAF Confederation Cup runners-up Orlando Pirates continued when they slumped 1-0 away to lowly Jomo Cosmos in north-west university town Potchefstroom.

Sundowns have 33 points at the 15-match halfway stage of the season, Wits 32, Mpumalanga Black Aces 30 and Chiefs 25 while Pirates languish in the bottom half, 17 points behind the leaders.

Hlompho Kekana and Colombian Leonardo Castro scored for expensively-assembled Sundowns, whose bench passed the notes to players with mixed results.

Midfielder Bongani Zungu used a stoppage to receive the first and give it to Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

Within a couple of minutes, Onyango created an interruption so that he could tie a boot lace that had come undone.

While the shot-stopper slowly tied his lace, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane beckoned half his team to the touchline for tactical instructions.

Soon after, another note was given to midfielder Kekana, but after he read it the referee took it off him.

Whatever advice was contained in the notes seemed unnecessary as Sundowns cruised to victory over bottom-half SuperSport, who were the architects of their downfall.

After error-prone United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams conceded a soft corner, Kekana soared unchallenged to nod Sundowns in front.

And when over-elaborating midfielder Dean Furman surrendered possession cheaply, Zimbabwean Khama Billiat broke clear and set up Castro to score with a low shot.

Former Portsmouth striker Keene has made a dramatic impact in three games for Wits, scoring four goals and receiving two man-of-the-match awards.

A first-half stoppage-time header by Togolese Camildene Abraw put Soweto-based Chiefs in front at their alternate home ground 1,400 kilometres (875 miles) away in the south-west city.

Rodgers, who is among the tallest Premiership players, levelled with a diving header on 86 minutes and struck again when a free-kick rebounded into his path during stoppage time.

Zimbabwean Charlton Mashumba condemned former African champions Pirates to a sixth league defeat this season with a goal 15 minutes from time at wet Olen Park.

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