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Action-packed weekend of Absa Premiership soccer leaves minnows still riding high

The top of the Absa Premiership table has an unfamiliar look about it after this weekend, with Maritzburg United, Free State Stars and University of Pretoria the surprise pace-setters.

It is fair to say that Kaizer Chiefs would have moved above them had the hail which forced the abandonment of their fixture against Black Leopards not come down on the Soccer City pitch.

The AmaKhosi were cruising at 2-0 after goals from Bernard Parker and Kingston Nkhatha (against his old side) on Saturday night before the game was rightly called-off for an unplayable pitch.They will have to do it again on Wednesday, but will start from the first minute and the scores at 0-0.

Maritzburg and Free State Stars played to a 1-1 draw on Friday night, with United taking the lead through Mario Booysen, only for Dove Wome to equalise with 15 minutes remaining for the visitors. Both sides remain unbeaten after four games this season.

As are University of Pretoria, who pulled off a surprise 3-2 victory over Moroka Swallows the same evening.

Mame Niang scored a brace against his former team, but Swallows brought themselves back into the game after goals from Katlego Mashego and Bennett Chenene.

However, AmaTuks were not to be denied and Mpho Maruping scored a winner later on.

Orlando Pirates got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at Platinum Stars, but it was a far from convincing performance for the side in the first game in charge for new coach Roger de Sa.

Stars were down to 10 men after just 18 minutes as Semenya was red-carded for deliberate handball, but it took a 69th minute penalty from Andile Jali to settle the match in the favour of the miss-firing Buccaneers.

A brace from Mabhuti Khenyeza helped pile on the misery for bottom side AmaZulu as they lost 3-0 at SuperSport United. Clifford Mulenga scored a wonderful third for Matsatsantsa and they will go into next weekend’s MTN8 final against Moroka Swallows in fine form.

The same cannot be said for AmaZulu, who have played five games in all competitions so far this season and have lost all of them. In fact, they have yet to register a goal, conceding 13 in the process.

Lamontville Golden Arrows made it four defeats on the bounce for Mamelodi Sundowns as a late penalty from Thanduyise Khuboni handed them the points against their fellow strugglers.

The result means Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens is on the brink of the sack, though he could hardly be blamed for the lackluster display of his highly-paid stars.

Chippa United were within two minutes of a first-ever top-flight win when they hosted BidVest Wits on Sunday, but in the end had to settle for a draw.

Chippa took the lead thanks to a fine header from Vuyisile Ntombayithethi, bit Erwin Issacs replied for the visitors late on in a stadium he knows extremely well, having played in Athlone for many seasons with Santos.

Ajax Cape Town let a lead slip as they lost 2-1 at Bloemfontein Celtic. Skipper Granwald Scott had fired them into the lead with a cracking volley from the edge of the area just before halftime.

But a disastrous slip from goalkeeper Sean Roberts allowed Lennox Bacela to equalise for Celtic, before Lerato Manzine profited from another error from the goalkeeper, who allowed his shot to slip under his body.

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