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AmaZulu hit five, Sundowns held in thrilling title race

Johannesburg (AFP) – Zambian Augustine Mulenga opened the scoring as AmaZulu hammered Cape Town City 5-1 Wednesday to move within one point of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in a thrilling South African Premiership title race.

While AmaZulu went on a scoring spree in Cape Town, off-form defending champions Sundowns were held 0-0 at home by third-placed Golden Arrows in Pretoria.

On a day of drama in the richest African football league, Cameroonian Bienvenu Eva Nga scored to condemn mid-table Kaizer Chiefs to a shock 1-0 defeat by second-from-bottom Chippa United in Soweto.

Sundowns have 48 points from 23 matches and AmaZulu 47 and Arrows 43 from 25, but the leaders face the distraction of a two-leg CAF Champions League quarter-final next month during the race to the wire.

While Sundowns are chasing a fourth straight title and 11th in all, the highest AmaZulu have finished is seventh while fellow Durban club Arrows came fifth twice. 

Unlike most clubs in a league which permits five non-South African starters, AmaZulu rely heavily on local talent with Mulenga the only foreigner to begin the match in Cape Town.

The Zambian struck on 10 minutes, rifling a low shot past Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh into the corner of the net, and AmaZulu doubled their lead before half-time through a Tapelo Nyongo penalty.

Mulenga set up the third goal for Lehlohonolo Majoro and Nyongo had his second spot-kick saved before the penalty duties were transferred to Luvuyo Memela, who converted one for a four-goal advantage.

Fagrie Lakay fired a Cape Town penalty wide and one minute later scored off a rebound before AmaZulu completed the rout through Siyethemba Sithebe.

The winning margin was unexpected as Cape Town entered the match having scored eight goals when winning their last three league matches.

Sundowns sorely missed their unavailable leading scorer, Namibian Peter Shalulile, when held by well organised Arrows.

They have collected just two points from three matches with co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi admitting that a heavy domestic and African fixture schedule is taking its toll.

Sundowns will surrender top place if AmaZulu win away to Arrows this Saturday, one day before the title-holders visit Orlando Pirates, who boast an unbeaten 11-match home record this season. 

Chiefs dominated possession and territory against Chippa before being stunned when Eva Nga took advantage of a weak back pass to lob the ball over goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune on 84 minutes.  

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