DStv Channel 403 Saturday, 13 April 2024

Pirates, Chiefs boost chances of qualifying for Africa

Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs both won on Saturday as the race to finish South African Premiership runners-up intensified.

JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs both won on Saturday to move within two points of second-placed SuperSport United as the race to finish South African Premiership runners-up intensified.

A Tapelo Xoki penalty on 79 minutes gave Pirates a 1-0 victory over SuperSport in Soweto while Chiefs also relied on a spot-kick, converted by Yusuf Maart, to win 3-2 at Maritzburg United.

Chiefs made a flying start in Pietermaritzburg with Keagan Dolly and Christian Saile scoring within 10 minutes.

But second-from-bottom Maritzburg levelled before half-time thanks to goals from Rafiq de Goede and Amadou Soukouna.

A softly awarded and hotly disputed penalty enabled Maart to net the 76th-minute winner before a sell-out 15,000 crowd.

The focus in the richest national league in Africa has switched to who comes second as Mamelodi Sundowns need only two points from seven matches to seal a sixth straight title.

But the race to finish runners-up is hotting up with SuperSport on 39 points and Pirates and Chiefs on 37.

Coming second secures qualification for the CAF Champions League and the chance to pocket at least $550,000 if a club survives one or two qualifying rounds and books a group place.

Pirates won the competition, then called the African Cup of Champions Clubs, in 1995 and Chiefs were runners-up in 2021. SuperSport have reached the group stage once.  

SuperSport are surprise occupants of second place after selling their best players -- goalkeeper Ronwen Williams and midfielder Teboho Mokoena -- to Pretoria neighbours Sundowns.

They have also been barred from using their ground due to a sub-standard pitch and must find a new venue for three remaining home fixtures, including a potentially key clash with Chiefs.

Nigerians scored both goals in another match with Chibuike Ohizu putting Sekhukhune United ahead and Eliosa Ighodaro equalising three minutes later for Chippa United in a 1-1 draw.

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