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Football: Kaizer Chiefs almost there as rivals falter

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Kaizer Chiefs need just one point from two games to secure the South African Premiership title after challengers Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates faltered Saturday.

Inactive Chiefs players saw Platinum lose 2-1 away to lowly Golden Arrows while a stoppage-time goal condemned Pirates to a 1-0 home defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns.

Platinum trail Chiefs by three points, have a much poorer goal difference and only one match left while Pirates, champions for the past two seasons, are seven points behind the leaders and cannot catch them.

Chiefs, seeking to win the championship for the first time in eight seasons, host sixth-place SuperSport United in northern city Polokwane on May 15 and a draw will ensure they are crowned champions.

Platinum, a club from north-western mining twon Rustenburg who were written off pre-season as likely relegation candidates, could not contain an Arrows side needing maximum points to be assured of top-flight football next season.

A powerful Gift Sithole header on 10 minutes put the Durban outfit ahead, Norman Smith added a second with a close-range shot on the hour mark, and Musa Bilankulu blazed a penalty over soon after.

Malawi midfielder Robert Ng'ambi pulled one goal back six minutes from time, but the sluggish visitors never looked like scoring the two late goals needed to grab victory.

Giant Dutch centre-back Alje Schut put the title beyond the reach of Pirates with a header on 92 minutes at Orlando Stadium in Soweto as Sundowns continued good recent form.

Former African champions Pirates have won just one of their last 10 league games in a title-less season after winning three of the four trophies on offer in the previous two.

At the other end of the table, Cape Town clubs Chippa United and Ajax came from behind to force draws and keep alive hopes of dodging the drop from the richest African national football league.

Thabo Mosadi bagged a second-half brace to give Pretoria University the lead at Chippa before subsitutute Mkhanyiseli Siwahla snatched a 90th-minute equaliser and a 2-2 draw.

Mabhuti Khenyeza, who could face a lengthy ban if found guilty of spitting at an assistant referee in an earlier league game, rescued Ajax through a second-half goal after Orlando Smeekes had put hosts Maritzburg United ahead.

The 1-1 draw kept Ajax three points above the drop zone while Chippa have two points more than inactive Black Leopards with the bottom team automatically relegated and the second-last team going into play-offs.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130511/football-kaizer-chiefs-almost-there-rivals-falter