09.02.2014 22:36 h

Football: Kekana thunderbolt lifts Sundowns' title bid

Hat sein Glück in Brasilien gefunden: Paolo Guerrero (M.)
Hat sein Glück in Brasilien gefunden: Paolo Guerrero (M.)

A Hlompho Kekana thunderbolt earned Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win at Orlando Pirates this weekend and kept alive the South African Premiership title hopes of the Pretoria club.

Success before a 25,000 Soweto crowd narrowed the gap behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs to eight points and record five-time champions Sundowns have a game in hand.

Midfielder Kekana struck on 63 minutes, unleashing an unstoppable 40-metre shot which flew past goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa into the roof of the net.

More renowned for his destructive abilities, Kekana is making a habit of scoring spectacular long-range goals.

He netted from an even greater distance for hosts South Africa in an African Nations Championship (CHAN) group win over Mozambique last month

The match-winner came after Zimbabwean striker Khama Billiat had wasted five good scoring chances for Sundowns, with the woodwork foiling him once.

Defeat was a major blow to the title ambitions of Pirates, runners-up to Al-Ahly of Egypt in the 2013 CAF Champions League.

The 'Buccaneers' are seventh on the table -- 16 points adrift of arch rivals Chiefs having played four less fixtures owing to African commitments.

"We sweated blood and ate grass," was the melodramatic summary of the lively match by Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.

"My boys deserved the victory because of our tactical discipline and we could have scored five goals," added the former South Africa boss.

Pirates' caretaker coach Eric Tinkler blamed poor passing and lack of movement in attack for the defeat after an encouraging midweek victory against title hopefuls Wits University.

"I felt Sundowns wanted the three points a little more than we did," admitted the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations-winning midfielder.

Wits suffered a second loss in four days when failing 1-0 at mid-table Ajax Cape Town with Carl Lark punishing hesitation by Matthew Booth to snatch an early goal.

Bottom club Golden Arrows ended a six-defeat streak by snatching a 3-2 home win over fellow strugglers Polokwane City in Indian Ocean city Durban.

Namibian striker Rudolf Bester was the stoppage-time match-winner, turning a through ball past onrushing ex-Botswana goalkeeper Modiri Marumo.

Moroka Swallows had to settle for a drab 0-0 Soweto stalemate with AmaZulu after a pre-match vow to win in honour of deceased assistant coach Dennis Lota.

A 1990s Zambia star, former striker Lota died aged 40 of suspected malaria.