Peterson plays as Chiefs sink Pirates as Sundowns slide
Johannesburg (AFP) – A few brilliant saves from former fourth-choice Brandon Peterson helped the Kaizer Chiefs beat the Orlando Pirates 2-1 on Saturday and keep slim hopes of becoming South African champions alive.
As the Chiefs edged the Pirates through an 81st-minute header from Eric Mathoho in Soweto, the Sundowns suffered a 2-1 away loss to lowly Maritzburg after conceding a penalty in additional time.
Peterson used his hands to drive a rebound off the post onto the underside of the crossbar and away to safety, then kicked a leg to foil another close-range attempt by the Pirates to equalize.
Reeve Frosler ended the Premiership clash stalemate for the Chiefs in the 18th minute with a fierce shot from just outside the box which goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane got his hands on but couldn’t prevent.
Ghanaian Kwame Peprah equalized in the 54th minute, tapping in a low cross at the far post for his fifth league goal of his debut season in South Africa.
Veteran Mathoho blasted past two defenders to hail the game-winner and complete a league double this season for Chiefs over Pirates, whose rivalry is South Africa’s biggest.
The Chiefs’ win and Sundowns’ loss offered a glimmer of hope that the season’s 30-round highlight could be more exciting than expected.
Despite the setback, the Sundowns hold a 16-point advantage over the second-placed Chiefs as they seek a record fifth consecutive title.
But the Chiefs have four games in hand and will host Sundowns on May 8 as the most successful club in domestic competition with 53 titles tries to avoid going seven seasons without silverware.
Not much has gone right for Sundowns seven days after a shock victory over holders Al Ahly of Egypt in a CAF Champions League group game in Cairo.
Namibian Peter Shalulile gave the local club dominating in recent seasons a 37th-minute lead that lasted just four minutes before Alfred Ndengane equalized.
Sundowns’ Themba Zwane saw a second-half penalty saved by Germany’s Marcel Engelhardt before Frenchman Amadou Soukouna converted a 92nd-minute free-kick for Maritzburg.
“Both Maritzburg goals shouldn’t have been allowed,” Sundowns co-manager Manqoba Mngqithi insisted. “Ndengane made a mistake and Soukouna dived.”