It was also a weekend of surprises as the two bottom outfits from both streams, Nathi Lions and their Inland Stream counterparts, Dynamos, ground out good draws against high-flying opposition.
The drama began on Friday afternoon at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium where log leaders Carara Kicks were held to a 1-1 struggling Nathi Lions and in another KZN/Free State clash the next day, Warriors moved into second position after demolishing Phindani Nene’s side at Charles Mopeli.
And in another high-tempered Cape Town derby, Ikapa Sporting failed to take advantage of some good first-half scoring opportunities against Vasco da Gama at Blue Downs Stadium.
It was a game of two halves as Vasco came out all guns blazing in the second period after coach Carlos das Neves gave his troops a tongue-lashing at the break, however, appalling refereeing by Jacob Frolick almost caused a riot after the game.
By the time Vasco opened the scoring within minutes of the second half, the ref had shown four yellow cards yet he missed the incident where an Ikapa forward elbowed Marlon Pitts in the face.
He then ignored two blatant penalty appeals by Vasco, including a handball, issuing numerous further cards and unjustly giving their striker Ricardo Skippers a second yellow.
Ikapa equalised from a corner just before the final whistle after a brilliant save by Jason Barnard, who had earlier done great work to keep the ball out of his net.
Match commissioner Stuart Gregory was not prepared to comment on Frolick’s poor performance, but a furious Vasco director Phillip Ribeiro said, “It’s disgusting, no wonder SA soccer never gets anywhere.
“After the game, the ref told our players that he didn’t react to Skippers’ appeal after being floored and losing his boot in the process because the Ikapa defender ‘didn’t mean to do it’. Have you ever heard such rubbish?”
It was also Witbank derby time at the Kwanyamazane Stadium, but Mpumalanga Black Aces highly paid squad lost 2-1 to lowly Witbank Spurs, while Jomo Cosmos were held to a 1-1 draw by a determined Dynamos at Nkowa-Nkowa.
While this was happening, Professor Ngubane’s Winners Park shot to the top of the table after downing FC AK 2-0 at Eldorado Park, and on Saturday evening Pretoria University and Black Leopards played out a goalless draw at the Absa Stadium.