Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

South Africa: Orlando Pirates beat Moroka to Premiership title

Posted in African Football by peterbein on May 22, 2012
Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates celebrate with the ASBA Premiership trophy

Orlando Pirates (Played 30, points 58) are the ASBA Premiership champions for the second consecutive year following their 4-2 win away at Lamontville Golden Arrows last weekend. A brace from Benni McCarthy proved crucial for one of South Africa’s most decorated clubs, his two goals coming in the last half an hour of the game to help push his team over the winning post. Nearest challengers Moroka Swallows needed to win, which they did with a 1-0 victory away at Maritzburg United, but also needed the Pirates to lose. Instead it was the Johannesburg-based Pirates who triumphed by a two point margin and, thus, seal their place in the 2013 CAF Champions League. SuperSport United, three times league champions, finished the campaign in third spot with a 2-1 win at Bloemfontein Celtic while Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs make up the rest of the top five. At the bottom of the table Jomo Cosmos, who were promoted as First Division champions last season, go straight back down again with a poor return of 19 points from 30 matches played.

South Africa: Champion Pirates open new season with win

Posted in African Football by peterbein on August 14, 2011

ABSA Premiership logoThe 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.

South Africa: Pirates sneak title ahead of Ajax

Posted in African Football by peterbein on May 23, 2011

Orlando Pirates 2011 championsOrlando Pirates sneaked the South African ABSA Premiership title by virtue of goal difference and cruelly denied Ajax Cape Town the championship in the process.

With two points separating Ajax, who led the table going into the final round of matches, from the Pirates it seemed that the former would clinch their maiden title, especially given that they were at home to Maritzburg United who were languishing in the bottom half of the table. Orlando Pirates had to win their game at home to the Golden Arrows and hope that Ajax would drop points.

With both games being played at the same time Ajax Cape Town knew that they held the advantage at half-time as they were leading 1-0 thanks to a 43rd minute Khama Billiat goal whilst the Pirates were being held to a 1-1 draw in their game against Golden Arrows, Bongani Ndulula (Pirates) and Collins Mbesuma (Arrows) trading goals in the first half. After the break, however, the nerves started to show amongst the Ajax players as they allowed the visiting Maritzburg team into the game with goals from Gert Schalkwyk and Diyo Sibisi giving United the lead with twenty minutes remaining. As long as Orlando weren’t winning then even a defeat wouldn’t prove to be too devastating for Ajax.

The last ten minutes of the season for both teams sealed their fate. Orlando Pirates took a 2-1 lead against the Golden Arrows in the 84th minute with Isaac Chansa sending the home fans wild whilst, almost immediately, Ajax Cape Town equalized in their game with Sameegh Doutie restoring hope to his side’s supporters with four minutes remaining on the clock. There would be no more goalscoring action and the table showed both Orlando and Ajax as having 60 points each so the league was decided on goal difference. This was where the Pirates had the upper hand as they sneaked it with a superior difference of four goals; Orlando had an 18+ goal margin with Ajax only 14 goals better off and so it was that Orlando Pirates were crowned South African champions for the third time.

South Africa: Ajax back in the hunt as title race hots up

Posted in African Football by peterbein on February 20, 2011
Thulani Serero

Thulani Serero scored both goals for Ajax Cape Town this weekend

South African football’s biggest clubs and arch-rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs lead the way in the ABSA Premiership with Ajax Cape Town close by hoping for them both to slip up in what could be one of the country’s most exciting title races for years. There are nine games to go and just two points separating Orlando in first place from Ajax in third.

SuperSport United, champions for the previous three seasons, are nowhere to be seen this time languishing in thirteenth place in the sixteen team league and have, thus, left it to the country’s big two and Ajax Cape Town to dream of lifting the championship trophy. Ajax were the big winners this weekend after closing the gap following their 2-1 win away on Saturday evening at local rivals Vasco da Gama Cape Town. Ajax, who are owned by the famous Dutch club of the same name, had the lead at half-time through a Thulani Serero goal in the 26th minute but Vasco da Gama, named after the famous Brazilian club although not connected to them, restored parity six minutes after the break with Francois Adams scoring the equalizer. The winner for Ajax came with thirteen minutes to play as Serero bagged his second of the game to gift the three points to his side.

Orlando Pirates, who were most recently South African champions eight years ago, could only muster a 1-1 draw at home on Sunday to 11th place AmaZulu Durban with all the excitement coming in the last three minutes of the match. Lehlohonolo Majoro thought he’d won it for AmaZulu when he struck in the 87th minute but the home side deprived the visitors of victory with a stoppage time equalizer through Happy Jele. The dropped points could’ve proven costly to the Pirates but they were let off after closest challengers Kaizer Chiefs allowed their hosts Santos FC, another club from Cape Town with a famous name, to steal a march twice in their game before securing a 2-2 draw. Kaizer Chiefs, who last won the championship in 2005, were behind after 23 minutes after Santos Wana gave his side the lead but Knowledge Musona equalized from the penalty spot seven minutes before half-time. Santos FC, who lie sixth in the standings, re-took the lead on 52 minutes through Jurie Basie only to see Sthembiso Ncobo secure the point for the Chiefs with quarter of an hour remaining.

With 21 of the 30 rounds played Orlando Pirates lead the table with 45 points, two ahead of both Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town. Kaizer Chiefs are in second place thanks to a goal difference of +15, three better than Santos FC. The next round of games could go some way to determining the destination of the trophy with the country’s biggest game to feature in Soweto as the Chiefs have home advantage against the Pirates next Saturday afternoon. Before that on Friday Ajax Cape Town will hope to leapfrog over their two title rivals, even if it’s only for a few hours, with a win at home to eighth place Free State Stars.

Tagged with:

South Africa: SuperSport United win third straight title

Posted in African Football by peterbein on February 24, 2010
Supersport United

Supersport United have won the South African ABSA Premiership for a third consecutive season

SuperSport United have claimed their third straight South African Premiership title in the least spectacular fashion after they were defeated 2-1 at home by Bidvest Wits University on Matchday 29. However their four point lead over Mamelodi Sundowns was preserved after their nearest challengers also suffered defeat at the hands of bottom club Jomo Cosmos from Johannesburg by two goals to nil. With only one match left to play in the championship there is no way that the Sundowns can claim the title so SuperSport will have been popping open the champagne bottles despite losing to the third bottom club in the league.

Bidvest Wits went into the game as expected whipping boys but shocked the home crowd on 27 minutes when Mark Haskins gave the visitors a shock lead. Having picked the ball up in midfield Haskins let fly from distance and this certainly gave the away side confidence. However Brian Umony equalised just six minutes later after he headed home a cross from the left-hand side and at the break the score was tied with the crowd expecting a second half onslught after United had dominated most of the possession in the first half. But Wits had other ideas and were to settle the fate of the match midway through the second half. On 68 minutes Calvin Kadi was able to tap in a cross from a couple of yards out and had stolen another goal for Wits against the run of play. Despite SuperSport piling on the pressure for the rest of the game a second equalizer never came and it was the Students who celebrated a 2-1 win to move them up to 12th in the table.

Therefore the opportunity was there for Mamelodi Sundowns to capitalize on their rivals’ mistakes but they suffered an early setback of their own away at bottom team Cosmos. Paballo Mngomezulu opened the scoring after just five minutes for the relegation threatened home side. With just one minute of normal time to go in the second half Siza Dlamini tucked away a penalty kick to give the Cosmos the three points which not only slightly revived their chances of avoiding the automatic drop (one team can also go down via a play-off route) but also denied the Sundowns their title dream.

In other South Africa games Kaizer Chiefs won 2-0 at home to Mpumalanga Black Aces to confirm third place in the table with the losing team second bottom in the table and looking over their shoulder as they hope to avoid automatic relegation. Santos FC Cape Town lost at home to AmaZulu Durban by a solitary goal which means that Orlando Pirates, who are one point behind Santos in fifth, still have a chance of overtaking them in the table.