26.08.2015 23:52 h

South African 'big three' struggle on road

Defending champions Kaizer Chiefs were held and fellow 'big three' clubs Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns lost South African Premiership midweek matches.

As the giants of domestic football found the going tough on the road in the third round, traditional mid-table outfit Mpumalanga Black Aces set the pace with seven points.

Ajax Cape Town and Wits have six points each, Chiefs, Platinum Stars and SuperSport United five, and pointless Free State Stars prop up the table.

Zamuxolo Ngalo was the match-winner for Aces in north-east city Nelspruit, 65 kilometres from the world famous Kruger National Park.

His glancing near-post header off a corner flew across veteran Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene and into the net for a 1-0 victory at 2010 World Cup venue Mbombela Stadium.

Aces had goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane red-carded on the stroke of half-time for fouling Zimbabwean Cuthbert Malajila outside the box, but expensively assembled Sundowns failed to take advantage.

Chiefs have scored nine goals in two league and cup victories at home this season, but success has proved elusive in three away games.

Hosts Polokwane City fought back at another World Cup venue, Peter Mokaba Stadium, to force a deserved 1-1 draw against the winners of two league titles in the past three seasons.

Media critics of Polokwane, who say the City defence has more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese, would have felt justified after the manner in which Chiefs took a first-half lead.

Several attempts to clear a free-kick failed and Chiefs defender Eric Mathoho banged the loose ball into the net for one of the ugliest goals likely to be seen this season.

The mid-second half equaliser was a 'beauty', though, with Puleng Tlolane showing superb technique as he volleyed a rebound off the crossbar past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

Bloemfontein Celtic made nine changes after a poor weekend league display and reaped the reward with a 1-0 home triumph against CAF Confederation Cup semi-finalists Pirates.

Most of the Super 15 rugby team Central Cheetahs were at the stadium where they also play to see Vuyani Ntanga win an exciting clash through a header off a pin-point cross 15 minutes from time.

Pirates, consistently excellent in Africa this year, have made a stuttering start to the Premiership with two losses.

Ajax came from behind for the second successive league match to win, edging visiting Free State 2-1 with goals from Mosa Lebusa and in-form Prince Nxumalo.

Australian Kris Bright scored the first goal and created the second on debut as Wits defeated Maritzburg United 2-0 in Johannesburg.

Platinum beat promoted Golden Arrows 2-0, Chippa United trounced Pretoria University 4-0 and Jomo Cosmos played a third consecutive 0-0 draw, this time against SuperSport, in other matches.