Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Thabiso Kutumela of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versveld Stadium, Pretoria South Africa on 13 January 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Monday Jan 22, 2018. 09:30
Mamelodi Sundowns reasserted their strong hold on top spot in the Absa Premiership following a weekend of action which also featured crucial wins for AmaZulu and Bidvest Wits.
The Clever Boys lifted themselves out of the relegation zone and continued their strong recent form by defeating 10-man Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in the lone game on Friday evening - striker James Keene netted from the penalty spot to decide the game.
Saturday’s afternoon action saw Cape Town City edge Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in a heated derby (to leave the Urban Warriors two points from safety), while Maritzburg United turned on the style to thrash in-form Free State Stars 3-0 in their own back yard in Bethlehem.
The early evening game saw ‘Downs take full advantage of Ea Lla Koto’s defeat, as they claimed a 3-0 win over Platinum Stars (who are bottom of the log and looking like prime relegation candidates) to open up a four-point lead at the top. Sibusiso Vilakazi struck a sublime opener, before Khama Billiat marked his return to the team with a pair of superbly-executed goals direct from free kicks.
The night games saw AmaZulu defeat SuperSport United 2-0 in Durban to move clear of the danger zone - thanks to goals from Siyabonga Nomvethe and Ovidy Karuru - while Orlando Pirates needed a late equaliser from Lyle Foster to salvage a 1-1 home draw against plucky Polokwane City.
Sunday’s games featured a thrilling 2-1 win for Kaizer Chiefs at Baroka FC, with the 10-man Amakhosi scoring a late winner through new signing Leonard Castro to move up to third on the log, while Chippa United and Golden Arrows played out a goalless draw in the Eastern Cape.
The Absa Premiership will continue with two midweek catch-up matches - SuperSport v Polokwane and AmaZulu v Celtic - before another full round of fixtures next weekend, January 26-28.
Absa Premiership weekend results
Friday 19 January
Bidvest Wits 1-0 Bloemfontein Celtic
Saturday 20 January
Cape Town City 1-0 Ajax Cape Town
Free State Stars 0-3 Maritzburg United
Mamelodi Sundowns 3-0 Platinum Stars
Orlando Pirates 1-1 Polokwane City
AmaZulu 2-0 SuperSport United
Sunday 21 January
Baroka FC 1-2 Kaizer Chiefs
Chippa United 0-0 Arrows