01.11.2015 18:04 h

Pirates sink Chiefs as Platinum top table

Orlando Pirates outplayed Kaizer Chiefs in a Soweto derby during a weekend of South African Premiership drama in which three clubs spent time at the top of the table.

Pirates were a transformed side from the one that had lost their previous two league matches as they triumphed 3-1 against lethargic Chiefs before an 80,000-plus crowd in Soweto.

Johannesburg-based Wits began the weekend as leaders but, after being held 0-0 at home by Bloemfontein Celtic, surrendered top spot to Mamelodi Sundowns, who trounced bottom club Maritzburg United 3-0 in Pretoria.

Sundowns occupied first place for 19 hours before being replaced by Platinum Stars, whose two second-goal goals delivered a 2-0 victory at struggling Pretoria University.

Platinum, from north-west mining town Rustenburg, have 18 points, Sundowns and Wits 17, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Celtic 15 and defending champions Chiefs and Golden Arrows 14.

Despite winning, Pirates remain in the bottom half, just three points above the danger zone in the richest African national football league with a 10-million rand ($725,000, 660,000 euros) first prize.

Pirates, who face Etoile Sahel of Tunisia during November in the two-leg CAF Confederation Cup final, took the initiative from the kick-off as another episode in a 45-year rivalry with Chiefs unfolded.

A 366-minute league goal drought by Pirates ended when Senegalese Issa Sarr volleyed a partial clearance by Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune into the net.

Uncreative Chiefs did not deserve the equaliser they grabbed just before half-time when unmarked Eric Mathoho headed powerfully into the net at the far post from a free-kick.

Another headed goal by a centre-back, Ayanda Gcaba, put Pirates back in front on 55 minutes and Thamsanqa Gabuza tapped in a low cross seven minutes from time.

Victory eased mounting public and media pressure on Buccaneers' coach Eric Tinkler.

"The boys were very good at applying pressure and moving swiftly from defence to attack," said the 1996 South Africa Cup of Nations-winning midfielder.

"We kept catching Chiefs on the counterattack and could have scored more goals. Our aim is to maintain this momentum."

Steve Komphela, a former national team captain who was coaching Chiefs for the first time in a Soweto derby, said: "Pirates were more energetic and exposed us at setpieces."

The clubs meet again at Soccer City stadium next weekend in a South African League Cup semi-final.