Orlando Pirates maintain PSL title challenge with Chippa United victory
Orlando Pirates were catapulted into second place in the Absa Premiership with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Chippa United in Port Elizabeth on Sunday as the increasingly intriguing South African domestic championship took a new twist.
The Buccaneers are now four points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns with eight rounds of matches remaining, but only six points separate the top five, with Kaizer Chiefs, Maritzburg United and Free State Stars all still in the mix.
Pirates had forwards Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga to thank for grabbing a late win after they had thrown away the lead when former Buccaneers forward Katlego Mashego equalised for Chippa with seven minutes remaining.
Mxolisi Macuphu had put the home side ahead when he collected an excellent through-ball from Andile Mbenyane, but the lead was short-lived as Ghana forward Bernard Morrison equalised from the penalty spot when Paseka Mako was adjudged to have handled the ball.
That was the way it stayed until 18 minutes from time as Zambia international Shonga poked home following a goalmouth scramble for his first.
Mashego looked to have rescued a point for top-eight chasing Chippa though when he bundled the ball in off Pirates keeper Jackson Mabokgwane.
However, the visitors kept pressing for the win and Lorch headed home a cross by Innocent Maela, before Shonga crashed the ball in from a tight angle to seal what turned out to be a comfortable win.
It is the first time that Pirates have scored four goals in the league in almost two years and will provide a huge boost in confidence ahead of their Soweto Derby against bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
In the other game on Sunday, Lamontville Golden Arrows claimed a huge three points when they defeated Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in Durban.
The match was rightly billed as a relegation six-pointer, with Golden Arrows having managed just a single victory in their previous 18 games dating back to September.
However, Ajax's troubles on the road continued as they slumped to defeat when Malawian international Limbikani Mzava scored the only goal of the game.
They remain second bottom, in the relegation play-off position, with 21 points, four ahead of Platinum Stars at the foot of the table.
Ajax are two points behind Polokwane City, though the Limpopo club have played a game fewer, while Golden Arrows, SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic are all on 26 points.