Sunsets take the lead again in South Africa as referee is escorted to safety

Sphelele Mkhulise (L) scored to give Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win over Marumo Gallants in the South African Premiership.

PHILL MAGAKOE

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Sphelele Mkhulise scored his first South African Premiership goal of the season to give Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win over Marumo Gallants on Wednesday to take them back to the top.

The striker swept the ball past Zimbabwean goalkeeper Washington Arubi from close range after 28 minutes at the Loftus Versfeld, a Pretoria stadium his team shares with the Bulls rugby team.

Marumo, who fell to last place after the defeat, had a last-minute goal properly disallowed for offside, but the visitors were furious at the decision.

Many losing players surrounded the referee when he blew full time, forcing security officials to enter the pitch and escort match officials to safety.

Marumo coach Dan Malesela declined to comment on the offside decision, while Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena said he ‘fears he could be fined by the league’ if he discussed it.

Chasing a sixth consecutive Premiership title and 13th overall, Sundowns reclaimed top spot with 22 points from 10 appearances, ahead of promoted Richards Bay on goal difference.

SuperSport United overtook Sundowns on Tuesday with a 2-0 win at Stellenbosch thanks to goals from Jamie Webber and Bradley Grobler.

It was the sixth goal of the season for Grobler, who shares first place in the Golden Boot race with Namibian Peter Shalulile of Sundowns and Burundian Caleb Bimenyimana of Kaizer Chiefs.

After Sundowns and Richards Bay come SuperSport with 20 points, Orlando Pirates with 19 and Chiefs with 18.

Richards Bay beat Cape Town City 1-0 in Durban thanks to an injury-time own goal from Lyle Lakay on loan from Sundowns.

After a shock loss to Chippa United last weekend, the Chiefs followed TS Galaxy for 40 minutes in Johannesburg before Keagan Dolly scored straight from a free kick to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Ashley du Preez gave the Chiefs an early lead but Galaxy fought back with goals from former Chiefs icon Bernard Parker and Ivorian Djakaridja Traore before half-time.

On Tuesday, the unpredictable Pirates produced one of their best performances of the season as they beat the Golden Arrows 2-0 in Durban thanks to a brace from Monnapule Salang.

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