x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

SuperSport surrender top place in defeat to Platinum Stars

A 3-0 beating of SuperSport United by Platinum Stars on Sunday in the South African Premiership dropped SuperSport from the top place on the table.

SuperSport United surrendered top place in the South African Premiership Sunday after a 3-0 whipping at fourth-place Platinum Stars.

Botswana midfielder Mogakolodi Ngele scored twice during the second half in north-west mining town Rustenburg after Namibia striker Henrico Botes netted before the break.

Moroka Swallows replaced SuperSport at the summit on goal difference with both sides having 15 points nine rounds into the 16-club national league.

Returning to the team he quit in mid-year, SuperSport coach Cavin Johnson saw his team given a lesson in clinical finishing at sun-drenched Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Veteran Botes displayed composure after 35 minutes as he latched on to a long pass and steered the ball across goalkeeper Ronwen Williams into the far corner.

After Bradley Grobler wasted a great chance to equalise just after half-time, Botes and Malawi midfielder Robert Ng’ambi set up rising star Ngele to score with another low, angled shot.

The result was put beyond doubt after 65 minutes when Ngele raced on to a Ng’ambi pass, burst into the box and fired into the far corner.

In a league plagued by woeful finishing, all the Platinum goals came from the top drawer and bode well for a strong title challenge by the 2012-2013 runners-up.

“It was tougher than the scoreline suggests,” said Stars caretaker coach Allan Freese, who has admitted that the toughest part of his job is answering post-match media questions.

“I believe we were hungrier for the three points than SuperSport – they mattered more to us and we are now only two behind the leaders.”

Johnson said: “My defenders’ minds were not in Rustenburg – they left them behind in Pretoria. We came here as league leaders and gave a very poor performance.

“The match was won and lost early in the second half when Grobler missed and Ngele scored almost immediately to put Platinum two goals ahead.”

A winless Premiership run by Bloemfontein Celtic extended to seven games when they were held 0-0 at home by top-half side Maritzburg United.

Celtic squandered the best chance of a poor match on the half hour when Lerato Manzini failed to connect with a low cross, poking the ball wide of an unguarded goal.