A poor start to the South African Premiership season for hugely popular but success starved Kaizer Chiefs continued to Sunday when an own goal led to a 1-0 loss at TS Galaxy.
Captain and goalkeeper Brandon Petersen conceded the own goal four minutes into the second half in the northeastern city of Mbombela to decide the third-round match.
He later made several superb saves to save Chiefs — without a trophy since 2015 — from a heavier defeat against opponents whose victory lifted them to third.
It is an unaccustomed position for Galaxy, a club coached by 44-year-old German Sead Ramovic who are more used to battles against relegation.
Chiefs, who have won a record 53 domestic trophies since being formed in 1970, have taken just one point from three matches after successive defeats and lie 13th in the 16-club standings.
“It was a fantastic result. We were tactically smart and superbly structured. It was a well deserved victory,” said Ramovic.
“Better passing in the attacking third would have given us a wider winning margin. Our goal this season is to finish in the top half of the table.
“There are no stars here, just footballers with wonderful attitudes and commitment. I am so proud to be the coach of this beautiful club.”
Controversial new Chiefs coach Molefi Ntseki said he was disappointed at the lack of aggression shown by his team.
“We were not sharp enough, not aggressive enough. We were second to every loose ball. We had several good chances, especially in the first half, but did not take them.
“A number of players were signed during the close season and it will take time for them to settle in. What encourages me is the good mood in the squad.”
Ntseki never coached a top-flight club before being put in charge of the senior national team and was fired after failing to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
The coach said in a recent interview that much of the criticism directed at him is due to the fact that he is not a “celebrity”.
On Saturday, Mamelodi Sundowns built a five-point lead in pursuit of a seventh straight league title by winning 2-0 away to Chippa United in Gqeberha.
A pass from veteran star Themba Zwane set up Ashley Modiba to break the deadlock on 36 minutes and Justin Chabalala conceded an own goal four minutes later.
© Agence France-Presse