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Kaizer Chiefs title favourites after Sundowns’ shock loss

Pretoria (AFP) – Kaizer Chiefs became favourites to win the South African Premiership after closest rivals Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a shock 3-2 loss to Cape Town City in Pretoria Monday.

Surprise Ralani scored twice and Kermit Erasmus once for City while Mozambican Edmilson Dove conceded an own-goal and Keletso Makgalwa netted in stoppage time for Sundowns.

Chiefs have a six-point lead and a far superior goal difference over defending champions Sundowns with six rounds remaining in the richest African national league.

The clubs clash on August 27 and Chiefs could clinch a first Premiership title in five seasons with three matches to spare if they win that encounter.

Since Chiefs were last crowned champions, Sundowns have won three of the four title races, but they looked anything but potential table-toppers when crashing to Cape Town.

Sundowns have taken just two points from a possible nine since the Premiership resumed on August 11 after being suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.     

City were fitter and sharper for virtually all of a match played behind closed doors at Loftus Versfeld Stadium to combat the spread of the COVID-19 disease.  

South Africa is the African country most affected by the coronavirus with 587,345 confirmed cases and 11,839 deaths.

– Ralani reacts quickest –

A match Sundowns had to win to retain a realistic chance of overtaking Chiefs started badly when they fell behind after only 13 minutes.

Ralani burst through and although his first attempt was parried by Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango, the Cape Town attacker reacted quickest to tap in the rebound.

Erasmus raised his Premiership goal tally for the season to 11 — three behind leader Frank Mhango of Orlando Pirates — with a lob over Onyango to increase the lead on 44 minutes.

Dove headed a corner into his own net in first half additional time under pressure from Wayne Arendse to offer Sundowns a glimmer of hope.

However, City regained a two-goal lead nine minutes into the second half when Arendse made a superb sliding tackle, but then lost possession to Ralani, whose exquisite chip found the net.

Captain Hlompho Kekana and substitute Phakamani Mahlambi squandered chances to bring Sundowns back into contention before Makgalwa netted a late consolation goal.

Cape Town are the only club to win twice since the league resumed and have gone from being on the fringe of the relegation battle to seventh place within four days.

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