24.02.2018 22:08 h

Kaizer Chiefs, Free State slip up as Sundowns falter

Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars wasted chances to put pressure on South African Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when they were held to goalless draws at home Saturday.

Both clubs kicked off after Sundowns had come from behind to draw 1-1 with Pretoria neighbours SuperSport United as the title race enters the final straight.

But instead of collecting three points against bottom-half opponents to narrow the gap, Chiefs were held by Bloemfontein Celtic in Soweto and Free State by AmaZulu in Bethlehem.

Orlando Pirates could take advantage of the stalemates, rise from fifth to second and trim Sundowns' lead to four points if they win at Chippa United Sunday.

Sundowns have 40 points after 22 rounds, Chiefs 35, Maritzburg United and Free State 34, Pirates 33 and Cape Town City 31.

Maritzburg staged a dramatic late comeback to defeat bottom club Platinum Stars 2-1 Friday while Cape Town fell 2-1 at home to resurgent defending champions Wits Saturday.

"We threw away a great chance to close the gap behind Sundowns," admitted Chiefs coach Steve Komphela, who is in his third season at the club and still trophy-less.

"This was a perfect opportunity to win and put pressure on the leaders, but we wasted several good scoring opportunities."

Asked if he was happy with five shots on target from 15 goal attempts, the former South Africa captain said: "No. We need to do better, to be more clinical."

It was a Chiefs defender who came closest to breaking the deadlock with a Daniel Cardoso header after a corner rebounding off the woodwork at Soccer City stadium.

Sundowns went behind after only 11 minutes in Atteridgeville outside Pretoria when Thabo Mnyamane scored for SuperSport and it was not until 12 minutes from time that Percy Tau levelled.

It was the second home draw in a row for the record seven-time Premiership champions after being held by Free State three days ago.

Much improved AmaZulu did well to hold Free State in central South Africa given that the hosts boast a formidable record at Globe Park.

Wits ended a run of four consecutive losses to Cape Town this season with Lehlohonolo Majoro scoring twice against his former club, for whom Craig Martin netted.

Victory lifted into the top half of the table Johannesburg-based Wits, who won the league title last season for the first time since being formed 96 years ago.

Polokwane City are just two points above the relegation zone after drawing 1-1 with Baroka in a local derby.

Malawian Robin Ngalande, once part of an Atletico Madrid reserve team, put Baroka ahead and leading Premiership scorer Rodney Ramagalela equalised with his 10th goal this season.