Johannesburg (AFP) – Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands and Cape Town City forward Fagrie Lakay starred when helping their clubs to victories Saturday in the South African Premiership.
Sandilands, who turned 37 this month, saved two penalties within nine minutes as Pirates edged SuperSport United 2-1 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Later, Lakay scored a hat-trick as City trounced Golden Arrows 4-1 at the same ground in a league which restarted this month after being suspended during March due to the coronavirus.
Pirates’ victory kept them in contention for third place and qualification for the CAF Confederation Cup, the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.
Cape Town have been the most impressive team since football switched to a ‘bio bubble’ in the Gauteng province, winning four of five matches under Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink.
Sandilands and Lakay won the man-of-the match awards for their outstanding performances at a stadium football is temporarily sharing with the Golden Lions Super Rugby franchise.
“We are super happy to come away with three points after four matches in the ‘bubble’ without a victory,” said Sandilands.
“The vibe in the team bus is going to be much better — it is not much fun when you are drawing or losing.
“As for the penalty saves, sometimes lady luck is on your side and today she was my best friend.”
Former South Africa goalkeeper Sandilands blocked spot-kicks from Bradley Grobler and former Pirate Thamsanqa Gabuza soon after substitute Zakhele Lepasa scored the match-winner.
– Unstoppable shot –
An unstoppable shot from Vincent Pule gave Pirates a lead that was cancelled when Luke Fleurs nodded into the net following a corner before half-time.
SuperSport remained third, one point above Pirates and Bidvest Wits, despite suffering their first loss since the richest championship in Africa resumed.
Lakay scored twice within 12 minutes of the kick-off and again deep in stoppage time from a penalty to complete the first hat-trick since the August 11 restart.
“I am more used to creating chances for our leading scorer Kermit (Erasmus) and it was nice to see my shots finding the net today,” he said.
“The fact that we are doing so well since the resumption of the league is down to teamwork and great coaching. No one minds who scores as long as we keep winning.”
Cape Town lie eighth with 39 points, three places above Arrows, after being on the fringe of the relegation fight entering August.
In the danger zone, AmaZulu edged Black Leopards 1-0 in Pretoria through an early Bongi Ntuli goal to rise two places to 13th while the losers fell one position to 14th.
The club finishing 16th is automatically relegated and the second-last team goes into play-offs with two second division sides for one Premiership slot.
Meanwhile, it came as no surprise that a mid-table clash between Highlands Park and Maritzburg United ended 1-1 in Soweto.
Highlands have drawn all four matches in the ‘bubble’ while Maritzburg shared the points in three of four outings.
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