Sundowns reclaim pole position after thrashing Pirates

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Sundowns smashed Pirates 3-0 at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday to cement their title bid.
Sundowns smashed Pirates 3-0 at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday to cement their title bid.
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The DStv Premiership title race saw a change of leadership for the first time in months during the weekend’s round of matches, though champions Mamelodi Sundowns reclaimed pole position on Sunday with a powerful 3-0 win at fellow heavyweights Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg.

AmaZulu took top spot on the league standings on Saturday afternoon when they defeated Durban derby rivals Golden Arrows 1-0 in a hard-fought match at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, where Luvoyo Memela’s solitary strike extended their unbeaten run to 16 matches.

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But the reigning champions responded with a powerful showing at Orlando Stadium on Sunday, pushing through a defensive-minded Pirates to claim an emphatic triumph thanks to second-half goals from Ricardo Nascimento, Peter Shalulile and Lyle Lakay.

The result sees Sundowns re-establish a one-point lead at the head of the table, with two games in hand over their nearest chasers. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are now 12 points off the pace of their vanquishers and remain in fifth place.

The weekend’s action opened on Friday evening with Swallows FC playing to yet another draw (16 from 25 league matches) when they held Maritzburg United 1-1 at Harry Gwala Stadium in a game which featured goals from Travis Graham and Sifiso Hlanti.

Saturday action, aside from AmaZulu’s win, also featured Kaizer Chiefs throwing away a two-goal lead, as early strikes from Happy Mashiane and Eric Mathoho put them in control away to Bloemfontein Celtic, only for Phunya Sele Sele to strike back through Neo Maema and Victor Letsoalo to earn a 2-2 draw.

Elsewhere on Saturday, TS Galaxy handed Cape Town City a 1-0 defeat at Mbombela Stadium thanks to Mxolisi Machupu’s goal; SuperSport United and Baroka FC drew 1-1 at Lucas Moripe Stadium thanks to strikes from Kudakwashe Mahachi and Richard Mbulu respectively; and the relegation dogfight took a turn with key wins for Chippa United and Black Leopards.

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The Chilli Boys edged Stellenbosch FC 1-0 at Sisa Dukashe Stadium thanks to an early goal from Kurt Lentjies, while bottom-of-the-log Black Leopards boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 away win over Limpopo rivals Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, courtesy of strikes from Roderick Kabwe and Sanele Mathenjwa.

The DStv Premiership programme will continue with a midweek set of three matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, which sees the ‘Big Three’ of Chiefs, Sundowns and Pirates all in action.

WEEKEND RESULTS

Maritzburg 1-1 Swallows

Celtic 2-2 Chiefs

TS Galaxy 1-0 CT City

Arrows 0-1 AmaZulu

Chippa 1-0 Stellenbosch

Tshakhuma 1-2 Leopards

SuperSport 1-1 Baroka

Pirates 0-3 Sundowns

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