Win lifts Orlando Pirates top, Sundowns lose

Katelgo Mashego scored a stoppage-time winner as Orlando Pirates came from two goals down to edge Wits University 3-2 Saturday and snatch first place in the South African Premiership.

Overnight leaders Sundowns lost 1-0 away to defending champions SuperSport United while Ajax Cape Town rose one position to third after a surprisingly comfortable 3-0 victory at Platinum Stars. Santos pipped bottom-of-the-table Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-0 to stay fifth and only four points separate the leading five clubs after 16 rounds of the chase for a $1.3m first prize.

The lead could change again tomorrow as Kaizer Chiefs will replace arch Soweto rivals Pirates on goal difference if they win a difficult fixture at sixth-placed Bloemfontein Celtic.

Former African champions Pirates appeared doomed as they conceded two goals within four minutes midway through the first half against a Wits side without a victory in seven matches since mid-November. Former Buccaneer Stanton Fredericks opened the scoring at Orlando Stadium on 26 minutes and Sifiso Vilakazi struck the second to give Wits a two-goal advantage they held until midway through the second half.

Zambian midfielder Isaac Chansa triggered the revival with two goals inside three minutes and former South Africa striker Mashego, who has battled to make the starting line-up this season, hit the winner a minute into stoppage time.

SuperSport finally rediscovered the form that enabled them to win the last three league titles thanks to a late Kermit Erasmus goal at Peter Mokaba Stadium in northern city Polokwane. Ex-Feyenoord midfielder Erasmus made no mistake from close range after SuperSport had hit the woodwork thrice and been deprived on numerous other occasions by Sundowns goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands.

The win lifted United to 20 points - 12 behind Pirates with 14 rounds to go - and was a timely boost for coach Gavin Hunt and his team as they begin their African Champions League campaign against Matlama of Lesotho next weekend.

Ajax recovered from a midweek mauling at lowly Maritzburg to end an unbeaten eight-match Platinum run via a first-half 'Terror' Fanteni brace and another goal on the stroke of half-time by Thulani Serero.

It was a profitable day for Zambians. Apart from Chansa, Collins Mbesuma scored the opener as Golden Arrows outplayed ten-man Maritzburg 3-0 and Noah Chivuta equalised for Free State Stars in a 1-1 draw at Vasco da Gama.