Johannesburg (AFP) – Namibian Deon Hotto put Orlando Pirates on the road to a 3-0 victory at Chippa United this weekend, and second place in the South African Premiership.
When Chippa goalkeeper raced beyond his box and completely missed an intended clearance kick, the 30-year-old winger stroked the loose ball into an unguarded net.
An own-goal doubled the advantage of the Soweto Buccaneers and Ben Motshwari celebrated being recalled by South Africa for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with an 89th-minute goal.
Hotto has netted six times in all competitions for Pirates this season, making him the joint leading scorer for the former African champions with Vincent Pule.
He left Namibia in 2014 and played for Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic and Bidvest Wits in the South African top flight before joining Pirates last year.
Victory by a wider margin than expected in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) lifted Pirates to 35 points, one less than defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
However, Pirates have 10 matches to play, four less than Sundowns, and German coach Josef Zinnbauer says he does not see his team as title contenders at this stage.
“Let us wait and see what the position is when all the clubs have played the same number of games,” said the coach who brought a knockout competition trophy to Pirates this season after a six-year title drought.
“Scoring has been a problem for us so it was encouraging to get three goals ahead of our first CAF Confederation Cup group match on Wednesday.”
Pirates are away to fellow former African champions Entente Setif of Algeria in a match switched to Ghana because of the coronavirus regulations in the north African nation.
Third-place SuperSport United squandered a chance to draw level on points with Sundowns when held 0-0 at home in Pretoria by mid-table TS Galaxy.
SuperSport lacked injured Bradley Grobler, the frontrunner in the Premiership Golden Boot race with 13 goals, three more than Ruzaigh Gamildien from Swallows.
Like Pirates, SuperSport have played four more matches than Sundowns, and their realistic goal now must be second place and qualification for the 2021-2022 CAF Champions League.
Arrows rose to fourth, four points adrift of Sundowns, thanks to a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Black Leopards with Zimbabwean Knox Mutizwa among the scorers for the Durban outfit.
Swallows lie fifth after conceding a stoppage-time goal from a penalty to draw 1-1 against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in Soweto.
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