South Africa: Champion Pirates open new season with win
The 2011-12 South African football championship kicked off this weekend with defending champions Orlando Pirates celebrating an away win at Black Leopards while there were also wins for Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows, Bloemfontein Celtic and Platinum Stars. Three matches out of eight were drawn this weekend including the two Sunday fixtures.
Orlando Pirates, who scraped the ABSA Premiership title last season by virtue of goal difference from Ajax Cape Town, got their new campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 win at Black Leopards. Bongani Ndulula struck early after just eleven minutes to give the champions a dream start and the match was decided with twenty minutes remaining when Benni McCarthy, back in his homeland after fourteen years playing in Europe, scored to double the Pirates’ lead.
Last season’s runners-up Ajax Cape Town got off to a bad start, losing by the same 2-0 score line away at Platinum Stars with Lantshene Phalane and Elias Ngwepe (penalty) putting the visitors to the sword. Bloemfontein Celtic enjoyed the biggest win of the opening weekend with a 3-0 victory away at Golden Arrows with Clifford Mulenga bagging a brace for the visitors. Kaizer Chiefs (2-1) and Moroka Swallows (3-1) also started the season with victories with Jomo Cosmos and Santos Cape Town respectively on the receiving end of a defeat.
Six teams had to be content with a point on the opening weekend with Free State Stars and three-time champions SuperSport United drawing 1-1 on Saturday whilst the two Sunday fixtures involving Mamelodi Sundowns v AmaZulu (0-0) and Maritzburg United v Wits University (2-2) ending all square.