Sundowns sink Pirates as Kekana scores from half-way line

South African Premier

Sundowns sink Pirates as Kekana scores from half-way line

Sundowns sink Pirates as Kekana scores from half-way line

The Orlando Pirates were blown away 3-1 by the Mamelodi Sundowns and Hlompho Kekana scored another from distance in what was a South African Premier thriller.

Mamelodi Sundowns' long-range goal specialist Hlompho Kekana scored from the centre circle as they defeated Orlando Pirates 3-1 Wednesday in a South African Premiership thriller.

Sundowns rise quickly

The midfielder and captain first netted after just 58 seconds in Soweto when he blocked a clearance and the ball flew past out-of-position goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands into the net. If that was a fluke, the second Kekana goal was extraordinary as his shot from the centre circle in Sundowns' half landed in the net and left Sandilands stunned.

Veteran Sandilands was hired by Pirates this season to solve a goalkeeping crisis after eight years with Sundowns. Kekana was a finalist in the 2016 FIFA Puskas award for the best goal in the world after scoring from his half against Cameroon in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Marc van Heerden pulled one back for Pirates before half-time to set up a breathtaking second half with the result in doubt until Liberian Anthony Laffor struck in stoppage time.

Fortune favours the brave

"My first goal was a fluke, but they all count," admitted man-of-the-match award winner Kekana. "As for the second goal, it seemed crazy to try a shot so far from goal, but it came off."

Spectacular goals are becoming a South African habit with one off a bicycle kick from Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke finishing runner-up to Olivier Giroud of Arsenal this year in the Puskas contest.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said victory was a "relief" after two successive league losses had sent the 2016 African champions tumbling into the bottom half of the table.

"This was not a tactical match -- it was all about heart and soul. Sundowns and Pirates played great football with no thought given to parking any buses."

Other results and league standings

Success lifted Sundowns four places to eighth with 12 points, five less than Baroka with three matches in hand. Baroka have 17 points after 10 rounds, Golden Arrows, Cape Town City and Bloemfontein Celtic 15 and Kaizer Chiefs, Chippa United and Pirates 14.

The surprise leaders, a club from northern city Polokwane who narrowly avoided relegation last season, drew 1-1 with mid-table AmaZulu in Durban.

Gift Motupa notched his fifth Premiership goal this season for Baroka by converting a 29nd-minute penalty and Rhulani Manzini levelled four minutes later.

Cape Town City left it late to end a run of four losses in all competitions with Taariq Fielies netting on 89 minutes for a 1-0 home win over Free State Stars.

Off-form defending champions Wits remained second last after Samuel Julies scored twice in the closing stages to give Chippa a 2-0 triumph in Johannesburg.

Platinum Stars stayed bottom despite edging Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in northwestern mining town Rustenburg to gain their first victory since the league kicked off three months ago.


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