Weekend football review
IT was a yellow weekend for football in South Africa as Mamelodi Sundowns hoisted the country’s flag high in the Africa continental club championships.
Arsenal continued with their glide to the summit of the table as Manchester City dropped points once again, while Leicester City’s downward spiral in the Premier League hit another new low.
The La Liga trio of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona racked up 17 goals combined in their respective matches at the weekend to keep the title race closely contested.
Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park remained invincible in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, while Platinum Stars recorded their first win of the season in the tournament.
Bayern Munich’s winless streak continued in the Bundesliga while new-boys RB Leipzig are up to third on the standings after claiming another big-name scalp in Germany’s top flight.
MAMELODI SHINE-DOWNS Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa moved closer to a fairy tale Caf Champions League title with a 3-0 home victory over Zamalek of Egypt on Saturday in the first leg of the final.
Liberian Anthony Laffor and Tebogo Langerman scored in the first half of a lively match watched by a capacity 30 000 crowd at Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Stadium on the outskirts of Pretoria.
The home team moved three goals ahead less than a minute into the second half when Islam Gamal conceded an own-goal on an uncomfortably hot afternoon for the players.
Should Sundowns be crowned champions after the return match in Alexandria next Sunday, they will become only the second South African winners of the competition after Orlando Pirates 21 years ago.
History favours Sundowns as only one club, Mouloudia Alger of Algeria in 1976, have overcome a three-goal first-leg deficit in a final. The second-leg is scheduled to take place at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Sunday.
CITY SLIP, LEICESTER CRASH Manchester City twice missed penalties in a 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday as Arsenal went level with them on points at the top of the Premier League table after seeing off Swansea 3-2.
Arsenal leapfrogged Tottenham Hotspur after their north London rivals also dropped points in a 1-1 draw away to West Bromwich Albion.
Chelsea hammered champions Leicester City 3-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses. Defeat meant the Foxes had won just two of their eight league games this season.
Stoke won in the league for the first time this season as Wales international Joe Allen made it four goals in his last three games by scoring twice in a 2-0 win at home to basement club Sunderland.
Meanwhile, West Ham climbed out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win away to London rivals Crystal Palace. Elsewhere, Bournemouth thrashed Hull 6-1 as Mike Phelan’s first game in fulltime charge of the Tigers ended in a thumping defeat.
LA LIGA TRIO RACK UP THE GOALS Lionel Messi took just three minutes to score on his return from injury as Barcelona thrashed Deportivo la Coruna 4-0 on Saturday, but Barca remain two points adrift of free-scoring Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Yannick Carrasco’s hat-trick and Nicolas Gaitan’s first two goals for Atletico inspired a storming fightback by Diego Simeone’s men to flatten Granada 7-1 after falling behind early on. Real kept pace with their city rivals with four first-half goals of their own in a 6-1 win at Real Betis to snap a streak of four straight draws.
On Sunday, former Italy national team coach Cesare Prandelli enjoyed the perfect start to life in charge of Valencia as Mario Suarez’s double lifted Los Che out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Sporting Gijon.
Villarreal’s unbeaten start continued with a 5-0 thrashing of Celta Vigo, while Athletic Bilbao’s 3-2 win over Real Sociedad in the Basque derby means the top six are separated by just three points.
Elsewhere, Sevilla are just a point behind in third after ending a 17-month wait for an away league win in a 3-2 triumph at Leganes. CHIEFS, ARROWS JOINT TOP Kaizer Chiefs’ fourth successive win sees them continuing to lead the way in the Absa Premiership, while Orlando Pirates have dropped four points behind their arch rivals after playing to a third successive draw.
The Amakhosi were much too strong for Ajax Cape Town at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening, with second-half goals from Lorenzo Gordinho and George Lebese taking them back to the summit of the log.
Earlier in the day, Golden Arrows had leapfrogged into pole position thanks to a narrow 1-0 home win over Chippa United, while Fiston Abdul Razak scored the only goal as Bloemfontein Celtic beat Platinum Stars away for their first win of the season, and Free State Stars were held 1-1 at home by Maritzburg United, who needed a late equaliser from Kurt Lentjies.
In Tshwane, SuperSport United claimed their first home win of the season as a brace from Jeremy Brockie wrapped up a 4-1 victory over Highlands Park. The PSL newcomers have now lost three of their last four matches and are finding life in the top flight tougher than they anticipated.
BAYERN, BVB SLIDE CONTINUES
Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa moved closer to a fairy tale Caf Champions League title with a 3-0 home victory over Zamalek of Egypt on Saturday