Pirates silence Arrows
ANDILE Jali limping off in agony two minutes from time was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect evening as Orlando Pirates beat Lamontville Golden Arrows 2-0 here last night.
It wasn't the performance that mattered most but the result took the Buccaneers to within a point of arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs at the top of the Absa Premiership log.
Arrows were too timid to put up the fight that coach Manqoba Mngqithi had promised in the days leading up to the match.
Daine Klate put Pirates in front with another one of his specialist free-kicks. It was a low, swerving, dipping effort that bent around a tenuous Arrows wall and gave goalkeeper Pavels Steinbors no chance.
The match was effectively over when Happy Jele doubled Pirates' money nine minutes into the second half, nodding in from the far post after Klate provided a cross with his sweet left foot.
Kgomotso Sethusha reports that under-fire Zeca Marques lived to fight another day as he steered Moroka Swallows to a hard-fought 2-0 victory against in-form Platinum Stars at the Dobsonville Stadium.
Marques came into the game with his career depending on the outcome, as Birds boss Leon Prins had made it clear what he needed to do to save his job.
But Marques was allowed a huge sigh of relief as first-half goals from Bennet Chenene and Katlego Mashego ensured victory for the Dube Birds.
Despite this rare win Swallows aren't out of the woods yet as they go into the Christmas break still stuck in the relegation zone with 17 points.
And even though he saw them through choppy waters last night, there's barely any guarantee that Marques can continue his revival of the team, given how his side almost disintegrated in the second half, perhaps due to apprehension.
Chenene put the hosts in the lead, ramming in a low shot in the 39th minute, following some good work from Lerato Chabangu.
Mashego stretched the lead with a superb finish from inside the area on the stroke of half-time.
Marc Strydom reports that an injury-time equaliser from wing Luyolo Nomandela, with practically the last kick of the game, earned Free State Stars a 1-1 draw last night at Milpark Stadium.
Wits opened the scoring after Calvin Kadi was brought down by defender Daniel Cardoso and referee Jerome Damon pointed to the spot. Kadi scored the penalty in the 58th. At the other end, Nomandela drilled a low shot past keeper Ryan Harrison to equalise in the fourth minute of injury time.
In Cape Town Mark Gleeson writes that Mamelodi Sundowns had to fight back from a goal down at Athlone stadium to get a 1-1 draw against lowly Chippa United, keeping Pitso Mosimane's unbeaten record since taking over but not ending the year with a flourish.
Wayne Arendse headed home a 69th minute equaliser from a corner as Sundowns were eventually rewarded for dominating the game.
United's goal was scored by Welcome Qalanto, a glancing header from a 30th-minute free kick.
Goals from Prince Nxumalo and Franklin Cale gave SuperSport United a 2-1 win over struggling Ajax Cape Town at Peter Mokaba Stadium. Viana Wanderson scored for Ajax.
Thabo Johnson reports that Bloemfontein Celtic and Black Leopards drew 1-1 at the Free State Stadium yesterday.
Both goals came in the first stanza, via Lerato Manzini for Celtic and Mongezi Bobe for Leopards.