Johannesburg – Mamelodi Sundowns remained top of the South African Premiership on Saturday despite not playing as Richards Bay and Kaizer Chiefs squandered chances to overtake them.
Promoted Richards Bay would have gone top had they won at home against bottom club Maritzburg United, but could only draw 0-0 and remained second.
This opened the door for Chiefs to climb from fourth to first by defeating mid-table Chippa United, but they conceded a late own goal to lose 2-1 in a home match staged far from their Johannesburg base.
Sundowns, who trounced La Passe from the Seychelles 8-1 in a CAF Champions League qualifier on Friday, lead Richards Bay on goal difference with both clubs having 19 points.
Super Sport United and Chiefs have 17 points each and Orlando Pirates 16 one third of the way through a 30-round season for most sides in the richest African national championship.
Rookies Richards Bay almost lost in Durban when Ugandan goalkeeper Salim Magoola la tried to dribble his way out of the box only to be surrounded by two opponents.
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The ball ran loose and, fortunately for the surprise side so far in the Premiership season, a Richards Bay defender booted the ball to safety.
It was an uncharacteristic error by Magoola, who has been the outstanding goalkeeper in the league with eight clean sheets in 11 outings.
Securing a point enabled Maritzburg, who had lost three of their previous four matches under Malawian coach John Maduka, to rise two places and out of the relegation zone.
Also in Durban, Chiefs took the lead just before half-time when Siyabonga Ngezana nodded a corner past Namibian goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua.
But after being denied an equaliser by a hairline offside call, Chippa levelled through Siphelele Luthuli on 54 minutes.
Chances were missed at both ends in a lively match before Mozambican Edmilson Dove headed into his own net one minute from time while attempting to clear a free-kick.
Chiefs, whose huge popularity spans all of South Africa, played in Durban as part of an agreement to host three league matches there and boost local economic activity.
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