Orlando Pirates ended SuperSport United's unbeaten run this season with a 3-0 triumph in the South African Premiership.
Former Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy converted a penalty midway through the first half and Zambian midfielder Isaac Chansa doubled the lead before half-time. SuperSport's hopes of a comeback were snuffed out just four minutes into the second half when Ndumiso Mabena completed the scoring for the resurgent defending champions.
It was the second league victory within four days for the Buccaneers, who are set to face fellow Johannesburg club BIDVest Wits next Saturday in the League Cup final. SuperSport, an unfashionable Pretoria club who topped the championship table three times in a row before surrendering the title to Pirates last season, had won eight matches and drawn four since the 2011/12 campaign had kicked off.
And now, the long-time pacesetters could lose top place tomorrow as neighbours Mamelodi Sundowns will climb above them on goal difference if they collect maximum points against sixth-placed Kaizer Chiefs.
Free State Stars remain third after a 2-0 home win over Cape Town strugglers Santos, with Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene scoring the late second goal with a penalty kick.
Moroka Swallows joined Stars on 24 points - four less than SuperSport - by putting a couple of recent defeats behind them to thrash lowly Black Leopards 4-1 in Soweto, where David Mathebula bagged a brace. Veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvete, who was in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad, slotted home a penalty and Ashraf Hendricks was the other scorer for the home side.
Despite resting seven players who would have been ruled out of the League Cup final against Pirates if they were cautioned, BIDVest Wits surged to a two-goal lead at home to Golden Arrows before losing momentum and drawing 2-2.
Sifiso Vilakazi struck twice for the Clever Boys before Thamsanqwa Gabuza reduced the arrears and Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma levelled midway through the second half.