Title race drama in South Africa
The South African Premiership title race will be decided only on the final day of the season after leaders SuperSport United lost and second-placed Orlando Pirates drew on Wednesday.
SuperSport slumped 2-1 at home to Golden Arrows in Pretoria while Pirates drew 1-1 at Ajax Cape Town and closed the gap to two points with one match left in the richest African national football championship.
Defending champions SuperSport complete a 30-match schedule away to Cape Town club Santos on Saturday and Pirates host AmaZulu at the same time in the chase for a million-dollar first prize. A point should suffice for United as they boast a far superior goal difference - plus 23 to plus 15 - than 1995 African Champions Cup winners Pirates.
SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt, who led them to final-day title glory last season, criticised his stars after a shock loss to unpredictable Durban club Arrows at Super Stadium. "The big names in my team have gone walkabout for several matches. Some of the chances we missed were madness. It was not our night and although we are upset there is nothing that can be done," he said.
Pirates Dutch coach Ruud Krol also lamented missed chances: "Finishing off chances remains a problem. Still, we would have won but for a moment of sloppy defending and must get three points on Saturday and hope for the best." Arrows struck twice late in the first half with Ntlantla Zothwane heading a cross past 41-year-old former South Africa goalkeeper Andre Arendse and leading Premiership scorer Richard Henyekane converting a penalty.
SuperSport continued to squander chances after half-time until Swaziland international midfielder Dennis Masina struck from close range on 71 minutes, but an equaliser eluded them. Pirates defender and leading scorer Lucas Thwala broke the deadlock in Cape Town by heading home a 49th-minute corner only for midfielder Thulani Serero to level via a deflected shot five minutes from fulltime.
Which Premiership club goes into the promotion play-offs with three second division teams will also be decided after the final round as the most-endangered duo, Thanda Royal Zulu and Bloemfontein Celtic, both won. Celtic remain one point ahead after cruising to a 3-0 win over doomed Bay United while Zambian Clifford Mulenga scored two minutes from fulltime to snatch a 2-1 victory for Thanda over Platinum Stars.