22.04.2015 22:56 h

Tshabalala stars as Kaizer Chiefs seal title

World Cup star Siphiwe Tshabalala created three goals as Kaizer Chiefs trounced Polokwane City 4-1 Wednesday to clinch the 2015 South African Premiership title.

The triumph at a chilly Soccer City stadium in Soweto gave the Amakhosi (Chiefs) an unassailable 15-point advantage over second-place Mamelodi Sundowns.

While Chiefs were scoring four goals in a league game for the first time this season, Sundowns could only draw 1-1 at home against lower-half Platinum Stars in Pretoria.

Zimbabwean Mathew Rusike bagged a second-half brace for Chiefs after George Lebese and Bernard Parker goals had given the home side a 2-0 half-time advantage.

Post-match celebrations among the new champions were partly spoilt by spectators invading the pitch and although no injuries were reported, Chiefs are likely to be fined.

Fish-and-chips chain owner Tshabalala scored a memorable opening goal of the 2010 World Cup as hosts South Africa drew with Mexico, unleashing an unstoppable shot after a sprint to the box.

But against defensively brittle Polokwane, the slightly built, dreadlocked veteran winger turned provider for the second, third and fourth goals.

Two of his assists came from perfectly flighted free-kicks and the other from a cut-back, which Rusike slammed into the net on 55 minutes for a match-clinching three-goal advantage.

"We were nervous but played well," said Chiefs' English coach Stuart Baxter, who also guided the Soweto club to the 2013 Premiership title.

"My players have worked incredibly hard throughout this season and the league title is a just reward."

But Baxter had a warning for his squad with three league fixtures to play, including a major crowd-puller at Sundowns next Wednesday.

"No champagne corks will pop tonight. There is plenty of 'bubbly' in the fridge and that is where it is staying until after our final game on May 9.

"There are three big league games ahead for us and we must behave professionally. Anyone who does not should not be at Kaizer Chiefs," stressed the former Finland manager.

Chiefs, who host Wits and visit Chippa United after Sundowns, need three more points and two more victories to create Premiership season records.

Apart from a 10 million rand ($820,000, 765,000 euros) cheque, Chiefs qualify for the 2016 CAF Champions League, a competition in which they have consistently failed to excel.

Dutch centre-back Alje Schut headed Sundowns in front on 50 minutes at Lucas 'Masterpieces' Moripe Stadium and Botswanan Mogakolodi Ngele levelled for Platinum via a free-kick.