Daine Klate celebrated his national team call-up by scoring twice for SuperSport United in a 4-2 win over AmaZulu that stretched their South African Premiership lead to five points. Often a mysterious omission from the squad of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ hosts, the slightly-built wide midfielder also created the first goal as defending champions United rose to 30 points at the halfway mark of the title race.
Ajax Cape Town lie second and neighbours Santos third while traditional giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are well off the pace in the race for a $1.25m first prize.
A Klate free-kick was headed into his own net by Ntokozo Sikhakhane after 16 minutes before a tiny crowd at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria where the Blue Bulls won the Currie Cup national rugby union championship last weekend. SuperSport are masters of set pieces and the second goal was ruthlessly executed with a free-kick drifting wide to unmarked Thabo September, whose header sneaked in at the far post.
Klate, hoping for a chance to impress new national coach Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira in mid-November home friendlies against Japan and Jamaica, struck his goals after half-time to leave AmaZulu four goals adrift. SuperSport could comfortably afford the luxury of a missed Brent Carelse penalty, before a late rally from the second-last club in the table included goals from Litha Ngxabi and Bukasa Kasongo. The comeback angered SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt, who is chasing a third consecutive title with the Pretoria club, and considered by many the likely successor to Parreira next July after South Africa 2010.
"We switched off after moving four goals ahead and I'm going to have a few words with a few players, although it was nice to get the three points and remain on target for the title," Hunt said. AmaZulu coach and 1996 African Nations Cup-winning captain Neil Tovey wore the look of a troubled man after nine losses and only three victories from 15 league outings.
"We knew SuperSport were dangerous at set pieces, yet failed to take care and got punished. The team was disjointed at the back and it began to play well as a unit too late."
Draw specialists Golden Arrows took maximum points for only the third time this season with a 1-0 home triumph over Mamelodi Sundowns in Durban, courtesy of a first-half Musa Bilankulu header. Platinum Stars from the north-west mining town of Rustenburg completed a profitable afternoon for home clubs by defeating Wits University 3-1, with Namibian Henrico Botes scoring twice and Colombian Luis Renteria once.