Saturday’s Absa Premiership action was headlined by a 1-1 draw for leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who were held in Thohoyandou by a resilient Black Leopards, while Cape Town City gave a major boost to their survival battle with a 2-0 win over Bidvest Wits.
The afternoon game in the Limpopo province saw the Amakhosi take an away lead thanks to a 10th league goal of the season from Samir Nurkovic, though Lidoda Duvha struck back through a superb strike direct from a free kick by Mogakolidi Ngele to earn a share of the spoils and move out of the relegation zone to 14th on goal difference.
Chiefs, meanwhile, remain well in charge at the top of the log – 10 points clear of nearest chasers Mamelodi Sundowns, having played a game more – but coach Ernst Middendorp will be concerned with what was a sluggish performance.
The early-evening game in Soweto saw Pirates continue their great form with a 3-1 win over Highlands Park, courtesy of goals from Thembinkosi Lorch, Frank Mhango and Paseka Mako.
The Buccaneers stay in fifth place on the log, but have now gone seven games unbeaten and taken 17 points from the last 21 available. The Lions of the North, by contrast, have suffered three straight losses (conceding 10 goals in the process) and remain in eighth spot ahead of Golden Arrows only on goals scored.
The night game in Cape Town saw City take all three points with a 2-0 victory over Wits. Second-half goals from Kermit Erasmus and Craig Martin allowed the Citizens to remain in 12th place but open up a four-point buffer to the bottom of the log, while the Clever Boys stay fourth on the log, 12 points adrift of log leaders Kaizer Chiefs but with three games in hand.
Friday’s results saw strugglers Baroka (13th) and AmaZulu (15th) slip further into trouble near the bottom of the log when they both lost narrowly away to Stellenbosch and Maritzburg United respectively.
The Absa Premiership will continue on Sunday 19 January with three games: Polokwane City v Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic v Chippa United and the Tshwane derby between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns.
ABSA PREMIERSHIP RESULTS, 17-18 JANUARY
Friday 17 January
Stellenbosch 1-0 Baroka
Maritzburg United 1-0 AmaZulu
Saturday 18 January Black Leopards 1-1 Kaizer Chiefs
Orlando Pirates 3-1 Highlands Park
Cape Town City 2-0 Bidvest Wits