Orlando Pirates climb to third

Orlando Pirates rose to third on the South African Premiership table as pacesetters Ajax Cape Town and closest challengers SuperSport United crashed.

Pirates edged Lamontville Golden Arrows 1-0 at Johannesburg Stadium thanks to an early second half penalty converted by defender Lucas Thwala. The Buccaneers have 26 points moving into the second half of the season under coach and former Dutch star Ruud Krol and appear poised for a serious title challenge.

Defender Gary Goldstone struck what may prove the goal of the season with a long-range drive as relegation candidates Maritzburg United triumphed 2-0 at home against leaders Ajax Cape Town. Defending champions SuperSport slumped 4-1 at lowly Free State Stars and their Ugandan goalkeeper Dennis Onyango was lucky to escape with a caution after kicking two-goal Sthembiso Ngcobo in the head.

SuperSport levelled on the stroke of half-time through Liberian Anthony Laffor only to be outclassed in the second half with Siyabonga Mdluli and Tebelo Mofokeng also on target for Free State. Ajax have 30 points after 16 matches and SuperSport 28 and the most popular football club in the country, Kaizer Chiefs, could join arch rivals Pirates in third place if they win away to Thanda Royal Zulu.