Orlando Pirates’ lead cut as foreigners star in South Africa

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Orlando Pirates had their South African Premiership lead cut to just one point Saturday on a day when all six goals in four matches came from foreigners.

Pirates were held 0-0 at home by lowly Maritzburg United and Wits rose one place to second after snatching a late 1-0 victory away to bottom club Black Leopards.

Golden Arrows converted two penalties within four minutes and then defended resolutely to edge Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 while Highlands Park won 2-0 at home against Cape Town City.

Malawians Limbikani Mzava (two) and Hellings ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango, Colombian Leonardo Castro, Namibian Peter Shalulile and Zimbabwean Tendai Ndoro scored the goals.

Footballers from other African countries have always been attracted to South Africa by good salaries and an increasing number of Europeans and South Americans are joining them.

Pirates have 24 points, Wits 23, Bloemfontein Celtic 21, SuperSport United 19 and trophy-holders Mamelodi Sundowns, Chiefs and Polokwane City 18 each.

Celtic get a second chance within five days to become leaders when they host Polokwane Sunday needing maximum points to overtake Pirates on goal difference.

Another foreigner, Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori, starred for Maritzburg, who began the day 14 places behind Pirates, as they climbed out of the relegation zone in Soweto.

“We knew Pirates would come at us from the kick-off and the boys defended superbly,” said the tall shot-stopper.

While Ofori made a string of superb saves, Pirates’ Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic said his players helped the Ghanaian excel.

“Richard is a very tall goalkeeper and we were shooting at a height that suited him. The best way to beat him is with low shots.”

Former Gor Mahia of Kenya coach Dylan Kerr got off to a disappointing start with Leopards as an 82nd-minute Mhango goal gave Wits victory in northern town Thohoyandou.

Mzava scored from two penalties during the first half as Arrows upset Chiefs on a Durban pitch that was unfit for football with large uneven, grass-less patches.

“This is what happens when you allow concerts and political rallies to be held at a football ground,” lamented Arrows coach Clinton Larsen.

Castro halved the deficit on the hour, but sustained late Chiefs pressure failed to deliver an equaliser.

Shalulile and Ndoro scored early and late goals during the second half of a mid-table tussle near Johannesburg to halt a three-match winning streak by Cape Town.