Pretoria surge as Pirates slip in South Africa

Newcomers Pretoria University continued a better-than-expected start to the South African Premiership season by winning 2-1 at Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday to move into second spot.

It was a position expected to be occupied by title holders Orlando Pirates, but they could only draw 0-0 at home to bottom-of-the-table AmaZulu and had to settle for third place.

Unbeaten pacesetters Kazier Chiefs have 18 points after eight rounds.

Pretoria, a star-less side promoted this season after topping the second-tier standings, have 15 points, Pirates 14 as they seek a third consecutive title, and Moroka Swallows, Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United 13 each.

On a weekend when six of the top eight teams drew, Pretoria bucked the trend by inflicting a rare home defeat on Celtic, who sport the same green and white colours as their Glasgow namesakes and boast a huge, passionate support base.

Senegalese Mamadou Niang nodded in the rebound when Cameroonian goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb parried a stinging Aubrey Ngoma shot to put Pretoria ahead and Celtic levelled before half-time with a scrambled goal by Auguston Leonard.

Bongani Zungu snatched the winner midway through the second half for the visitors, who have won four games, drawn three and lost at home to Pirates in their first season of top-flight football.

AmaZulu goalkeeper Philani Zikakala pulled off several superb second-half saves at Orlando Stadium in Soweto to defy a Pirates side sorely missing injured goal poacher Benni McCarthy.