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 battering takes title race to final day

Posted in African Football by peterbein on May 7, 2011

PSL TrophyAjax Cape Town began the day knowing that a win against Kaizer Chiefs would stand them in good stead in terms of the title race in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League. Instead they would be ruing a 4-0 battering at the hands of one of the country’s biggest clubs who kept alive their own title chances in the process.

The game was over as a contest by half-time as goals from Renielwe Letsholonyane, Knowledge Musona and Simphiwe Tschabalala gave Kaizer Chiefs a 3-0 lead at the break. Ajax Cape Town didn’t have the fight to come back in the second half and allowed their hosts a fourth goal when Tschabalala, who featured prominently for the Bafana Bafana in last year’s FIFA World Cup, scored his second goal of the game midway through the second half.

This slip gave second place Orlando Pirates a great opportunity to level with Ajax Cape Town on points but they would be left to wonder what might have been at the end of the game. Ajax’s local neighbours Santos FC Cape Town had the lead at half time after Erwin Isaacs’ 7th minute goal proved the difference between the sides at the break. For Orlando it looked like the chance to narrow the gap at the top had passed but Bongani Ndulula pounced in stoppage time to give the Pirates a deserved point.

With just one game to go in the Premier Soccer League, Ajax Cape Town (played 29, points 59) lead Orlando Pirates by two points who, in turn, are a further point ahead of Kaizer Chiefs. The final matchday of the season will see Ajax have a home tie against 12th place Maritzburg United whilst Orlando will face off against 10th place Lamontville Golden Arrows. The Kaizer Chiefs, meanwhile, will end their season with an away fixture at 13th place AmaZulu Durban.

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.