08.04.2018 22:07 h

Leaders Sundowns put 'cocky' Baroka in their place

Mamelodi Sundowns moved four points clear of Orlando Pirates in a two-club South African Premiership title race by winning 2-1 at "cocky" Baroka on Sunday.

Short corners led to Lucky Nguzana giving mid-table Baroka the lead and Wayne Arendse levelling a minute before half-time for the leaders.

Percy Tau, who is reportedly being watched by French Ligue 1 outfit Monaco, converted a cut-back on 51 minutes to win the match in northern city Polokwane.

Sundowns have 49 points and Pirates 45 and each club has five matches to play in pursuit of a 10 million-rand (about $830,000/675,000 euros) first prize.

Coach Pitso Mosimane had warned his team that "Baroka are cocky -- they come at you and are not a team that parks the bus".

"They are free-spirited and have players who are very difficult to manage," stressed the 53-year-old former South Africa striker and coach.

Baroka were quicker out of the blocks but suffered an early blow when Zimbabwean midfielder Talent Chawapiwa retired with a hamstring injury.

After falling behind, Sundowns gradually raised their game and had sufficient chances to have won more convincingly.

"We did not start well," conceded Mosimane, the only South African to coach a CAF Champions League-winning team.

"Playing a third match in eight days meant my boys' legs were heavy until they adjusted to the pace of the game.

"It was an important victory for us, but we are taking the league campaign one game at a time and not talking about winning titles.

"This is not a time for pretty football -- it is a time to collect maximum points from matches then go home and rest."

Record seven-time Premiership title-holders Sundowns have three home fixtures to come, including a showdown with outgoing champions Wits next Saturday, and two away.

A Pirates team coached by Serb Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic, have two home matches left and three away.

In the other Sunday game, lower-half clubs Bloemfontein Celtic and AmaZulu drew 1-1 with both goals coming in the closing stages.

Jacky Motshegwa gave Celtic an 82nd-minute lead that lasted just four minutes before Mhlengi Cele equalised.