Keagan Dolly converted a stoppage-time penalty to give Kaizer Chiefs a dramatic 2-1 victory over Orlando Pirates on Saturday in the highlight of the South African Premiership calendar.
The former Montpellier midfielder had earlier broken the deadlock in the Soweto derby with a 49th-minute goal and Linda Mntambo levelled three minutes from the end of regular time.
Dolly, who quit France after the Ligue 1 season ended, is reportedly the highest paid Premiership footballer with a 1.45 million rand ($96,500/83,500 euros) monthly salary.
Traditionally tight spenders, Chiefs will feel the splash for Dolly was justified as the 28-year-old has scored five goals in 10 matches for a team seeking a first league title since 2015.
Success for the Amakhosi (Chiefs), in an empty Soccer City stadium because of Covid-19 restrictions, confirmed their recent league dominance over the Buccaneers with four wins and a draw from six meetings.
Securing maximum points from a match that began in sweltering heat and ended in a downpour lifted Chiefs one place to fifth, seven points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who have played two fewer matches.
Pirates, who won the last of four Premiership titles in 2012, remained seventh, eight points adrift of Sundowns.
“It was a scrambled victory,” admitted Chiefs’ England-born coach Stuart Baxter, who was rehired this year after winning four trophies during a previous spell at the club.
“I thought the first half was evenly contested, but that we were more comfortable on the ball after half-time.
“The torrential rain disrupted my plans to bring on several substitutes as it takes time for footballers to adapt to a dramatic change in conditions.
“Consistency is a big issue for us — we can defeat any South African opponents when the team clicks and lose to anyone when we don’t.”
Pirates’ acting co-coach Fadlu Davids saw the match differently from Baxter, saying his team “dominated from start to finish”.
“The scoreline does not tell the true story because the better side lost. I am proud of our performance. We were the only team seeking maximum points during the closing stages.”
Second-place Stellenbosch squandered a chance to draw level on points with Sundowns after being held 0-0 at home by mid-table Golden Arrows in the western Cape winelands.
Sundowns can go five points clear at the top on Sunday if they triumph away to bottom club Marumo Gallants in northern city Polokwane.