Wits keep the top spot despite defeat to Stars
The Absa Premiership title run-in promises a spectacle of thrills and spills — and no one has a clue how it is going to end
Hold on tight because the compelling nature of this Absa Premiership title run-in promises a spectacle of thrills and spills — and no one has a clue how it is going to end.
Baroka FC’s injury-time penalty from the boot of Richard Matloga deep into referee’s injury time saw the relegation-threatened Limpopo side pull off a stunning 2-2 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday night.
Before Sundowns’s penalty — defender Thapelo Morena for handling in the box — the Brazilians were leading 2-1 and on top of the log with 57 points, having overtaken Bidvest Wits who lost 3-1 to Free State Stars in Bethlehem on the same night.
Wits now lead Sundowns by two points, with the two championship chasing sides going into the last two matches of the season, which, on the evidence of what happened on Wednesday night, promises to be thrilling.
The advantage is firmly with Wits, who need to win their remaining matches against Polokwane City at home and Kaizer Chiefs away from home on the final day of the season to be crowned champions.
For Pitso Mosimane and his men to regain the championship, they must also win their remaining matches against Maritzburg United and Highlands Park, while at the same time hoping Wits drop points.
In Bloemfontein, a goalless draw for Bloemfontein Celtic at home to Orlando Pirates on Wednesday failed to bring relief from the relegation fight, but did provide a potentially vital point for the struggling Free Staters.
Celtic, who have three games to go, are now four points above the drop zone, but have a tough remaining schedule after drawing a fourth successive match.
Pirates moved one place up to ninth in the Premier Soccer League, but were unconvincing as they went through a third game without scoring.
"I hope this gives us confidence for the last two games and the cup semifinal," said Pirates coach Kjell Jonevret, who felt his side should have had a victory based on the number of chances at the Molemela Stadium.
Wits’s "Curse of Goble Park" struck again and Free State Stars’ victory on Wednesday night almost evened up the Absa Premiership.
Wits were tardy and committed numerous basic errors, also having Sifiso Myeni sent off in the 79th minute, conceding goals for Stars by Makhehlene Makhaula (24th minute), Mohammed Anas (65th) and Sinethemba Jantjie (90).
Cuthbert Malajila had pulled one back for Wits in the 76th.
The Clever Boys – coming into the game with a three-point lead over Mamelodi Sundowns – capitulated again at the ground in which they just cannot seem to win.
Had Downs not conceded a late goal in their 2-2 draw against Baroka FC at Lucas Moripe Stadium, the Brazilians would have drawn level with Wits on 57 points at the top.