Johannesburg (AFP) – A couple of brilliant saves by one-time fourth choice Brandon Peterson enabled Kaizer Chiefs to beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 on Saturday and keep alive slender hopes of becoming South African champions.
While Chiefs edged Pirates through a headed goal from Eric Mathoho on 81 minutes in Soweto, Sundowns suffered a shock 2-1 away loss to lowly Maritzburg after conceding an added-time penalty.
Peterson used his hands to push a rebound off the post up on to the underside of the crossbar and away to safety, then struck out a leg to foil another close-range attempt by Pirates to equalise.
Reeve Frosler broke the Premiership clash deadlock for Chiefs on 18 minutes with a fierce shot from just outside the box that goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane got a hand to but could not keep out.
Ghanaian Kwame Peprah levelled on 54 minutes, tapping in a low cross at the far post for his fifth league goal of his first season in South Africa.
Veteran Mathoho outjumped two defenders to nod the match-winner and complete a league double this season for Chiefs over Pirates, whose rivalry is the greatest in South Africa.
Chiefs’ victory and Sundowns’ defeat offered a glimmer of hope that the climax of the 30-round season could be more exciting than feared.
Despite the setback, Sundowns hold a 16-point advantage over second-place Chiefs as they seek a record-extending fifth straight title.
But Chiefs have four matches in hand and will host Sundowns on May 8 as the most successful club in domestic competitions with 53 titles try to avoid going seven seasons without silverware.
Little went right for Sundowns seven days after a shock win over title-holders Al Ahly of Egypt in a CAF Champions League group match in Cairo.
Namibian Peter Shalulile gave the dominant local club in recent seasons a 37th-minute lead that lasted just four minutes before Alfred Ndengane equalised.
Sundowns’ Themba Zwane had a second-half penalty saved by German Marcel Engelhardt before France-born Amadou Soukouna converted a 92nd-minute spot-kick for Maritzburg.
“Both Maritzburg goals should not have been allowed,” insisted Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi. “Ndengane committed a foul and Soukouna dived.”
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