Chiefs beat Pirates to go top
Kaizer Chiefs halted a run of early-season failures against Orlando Pirates with a 2-1 victory that took them to the top of the South African Premiership.
Bernard Parker and captain Siphiwe Tshabalala scored in the first half for Chiefs and Happy Jele netted a consolation goal for the defending champions off the last kick of a Soweto derby at Soccer City.
No-one wore a broader smile at full-time than Vladimir Vermezovic, the often dour Serbian coach of Chiefs, who had come under public and media fire after three losses to arch-rivals Pirates since July.
The Buccaneers won 1-0 in a pre-season tournament, beat their rivals on penalties in an exhibition match where supporters chose the starting line-ups, and sealed a 1-0 win last weekend in the Top 8 Cup final.
These matches had been a recurring nightmare for Chiefs goalkeeper and South African football pin-up Itumeleng Khune as he conceded two goals and blazed a shoot-out penalty over.
However, Khune was faultless in the first league match of the season between the two clubs as Chiefs dominated the first half and defended resolutely after half-time.
"We won by playing good football and I was particularly impressed by my defenders and the support they received from the midfielders," Vermezovic said after the fifth-round game.
Pirates' Brazilian coach Julio Leal was philosophical after seeing his run of success against Chiefs since replacing former Dutch star Ruud Krol come to an end.
"You win some Soweto derbies and you lose some. Several individuals did not contribute to the collective effort and we really only started playing after half-time," Leal said.
Chiefs now have 12 points, ahead of SuperSport United, Mamelodi Sundowns, who play at home against Ajax Cape Town on Sunday, Pirates and Moroka Swallows.
SuperSport could have gone top five hours after Chiefs defeated Pirates, but were held 2-2 at bottom-side Jomo Cosmos with Siyabonga Nontshinga converting a penalty in each half for the strugglers.
Platinum Stars and Black Leopards also drew 2-2, Santos edged Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 for a first win of the season, while a late Ashraf Hendricks goal earned Moroka Swallows a 1-0 victory at AmaZulu.