Unbeaten Masandawana's "introverted" title charge, Soweto Derby and more
Below is a pick of the latest action from the South African Absa Premiership played over the weekend.
Zambian pair carve out Chiefs defence to decide derby
The most important match in South African football, the Soweto derby, returned on Saturday and like all times - failed to disappoint. The story of two colors, gold and black was re-written for the 164th time with the Sea Robbers also known as the Happy People picking up a narrow 2-1 win. Kaizer Chiefs started off brightly with veteran, Bernard Parker slicing a notable pass that opened the Pirates defence to allow Billiat to score the first goal of the match from a delightful cross. A goal that moved the Zimbabwean forward to the top of the scoring charts in the 2018/19 Absa Premiership season. It all seemed to have been going the way of Amakhosi as goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune denied Justin Shonga from the penalty spot to preserve the lead. However, moments later, Innocent Maela restored parity when he rose the highest from a set-piece corner kick to give back joy to the Happy People. The day increasingly grew darker for the Lords as the Ghost haunted them again, three minutes later. Zambia’s Augustine Mulenga and Justin “The Sheriff” Shonga combined beautifully on the left wing to set up Maliele Vincent Pule for Pirates’ second and his fourth goal of the season, tied on top of the scorers’ chart with Kaizer Chiefs’ Billiat. The Zambian pair would eventually cause all sorts of problems for the Glamour Boys, with 21-year-old Shonga even hitting the crossbar at some point. The day ended with Coach Micho’s men grabbing a priceless victory and also three precious Absa premiership points, moving up to second on the league standings, a point off Bidvest Wits.
Masandawana narrowly edge Chippa to stay unbeaten
Pitso Mosimane’s men have had a slowish start to the 2018/19 PSL season, playing less league matches than the rest due to champions league commitments and also adjusting to life without the heralded pair in Percy Tau and Khama Billiat who switched to new colors. As a result, Mamelodi Sundowns have drawn five of their eight league matches but lost none. The hard fought 1-0 away win against Eric Tinkler’s Chippa United saw them climb to sixth position, six points off leaders, the Clever Boys (Bidvest Wits) but with two fewer games played. Tau and Billiat were obviously an integral part of the quick pass attacking frontline that never failed to exhibit why the Brazilians had their football style nicknamed, “shoe-shine-piano.” However, the good news for all the Bafana BaStyle fans out there is that the football philosophy doesn’t look like its changing at all. Celebrated South African footballer, Andile Jali, who recently joined the side from Belgian Pro League side K.V. Oostende has complimented Captain Hlompho Kekana’s style of play in the middle of the park giving Sundowns a new dimension. The solitary goal scorer against Chippa, Uruguayan Gaston Sirino looks capable of filling the shoes of the departed. With all this armor and the committed brains of Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane, Sundowns may defend their psl title, even when everyone else least expects them to.
Encouraging early signs for Komphela’s Celtic
The celebrated, yet trophyless Steve Komphela seems to be oiling the Bloemfontein Celtic machine for not so anticipated things. Of course, it’s still a bit early in the season with only eleven matches played out of 30, but Phunya Sele Sele are looking a better side under “Shakespeare.” After dominating the weekend’s encounter against Baroka FC, missing a lot of chances, they kept their nerve to eventually score in the 92nd minute to get all three points. They are now third on the table, an encouraging sign that they may better last season’s 11th position finish. Perhaps even hand Steve Komphela his first trophy in his illustrious managerial career of always being near yet so far. Here is sound bite from Bra Steve from the weekend, perhaps one that has kept Celtic going so far: