JOHANNESBURG – Ugandan Denis Onyango and Liberian Anthony Laffor played significant roles as Mamelodi Sundowns won 1-0 at Chippa United Wednesday and regained the South African Premiership lead.
Goalkeeper Onyango dealt capably with the aerial threat of physically imposing Burkina Faso striker Aristide Bance at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in southern coastal city Port Elizabeth.
And midfielder Laffor set up the only goal on 68 minutes with a low cross that Diamond Thopola deflected past Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi into his own net.
“We showed character and discipline and winning in places like Port Elizabeth is never easy,” said Coach Pitso Mosimane after Sundowns replaced Platinum Stars as leaders.
“(Aristide) Bance was a major threat to us and I thought Denis (Onyango) handled the physical contact very well.”
Sundowns lead on goals scored from Wits, who ended the eight-match unbeaten run of Platinum since the start of the season with a 4-0 triumph in north-west mining town Rustenburg.
Phakamani Mahlambi scored twice within five minutes during the opening half for the Johannesburg club at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.
Former South African Footballer of the Year Sibusiso Vilakazi added a third goal soon after half-time and Burundian Papy Faty completed the rout 11 minutes from time.
The drubbing for Platinum came one day after coach Cavin Johnson said his team were not good enough to win the richest African national football league.
“It is not possible for us to win the Premiership, but we intend to fight all the way,” he declared after being voted coach of the month.
Wits were the second side to ruthlessly expose the defensive frailties of Platinum recently with Kaizer Chiefs winning a League Cup game 3-0 near Rustenburg.
Only four points separate the top six clubs with a third of the season completed as they chase a 10 million rand first prize.
Sundowns and Wits have 20 points, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Platinum 18, title-holders Chiefs 17 and Bloemfontein Celtic 16.
Aces recovered from successive league losses to comfortably defeat lowly Jomo Cosmos 3-1 at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit with leading league scorer Zambian Collins Mbesuma among the goals.
Chiefs were another side to win 3-1 at home, against erratic mid-table outfit Golden Arrows at Soccer City stadium in Soweto. George Lebese bagged a first-half brace for the defending champions.
Ugandan Geoffrey Massa levelled from the penalty spot as Celtic drew 1-1 with bottom-half SuperSport United at Peter Mokaba Stadium in northern city Polokwane.
Orlando Pirates followed up an impressive Soweto derby triumph over Chiefs last Saturday by winning 2-1 at Ajax Cape Town through Kermit Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Majoro goals.
Success lifted the Soweto Buccaneers to 10th place — nine points behind Sundowns with a game in hand — after a poor early-season form.
Article source: https://www.enca.com/sport/soccer/sundowns-reclaim-top-spot