Johannesburg (AFP) – South African Premiership Golden Boot frontrunner Bradley Grobler ended a lengthy injury-induced goal drought on Wednesday, scoring in SuperSport’s 1-0 home win over TTM.
The 33-year-old netted after 52 minutes in Pretoria as sixth-placed SuperSport snapped a 10-match winless league run and recent FA Cup winners TTM dropped to the relegation zone.
Grobler has 14 goals, Thabiso Kutumela of Maritzburg United 12 and Ruzaigh Gamildien of Swallows and Namibian Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns 11 each in the chase to finish as leading scorer.
A thigh strain forced Grobler to miss five matches before returning to action in early May and the injury has virtually dashed his hopes of reaching the 20-goal mark this season.
“It will be a tough target to reach now. It was great scoring tonight and I will be grateful for any more goals before the season ends,” said Grobler.
“I was desperate to play again, but coach Kaitano (Tembo) did not want to rush me back before I had fully recovered, otherwise I would have risked aggravating the injury.
“It is unpleasant watching matches while your team is battling and you believe you can help them get back to winning ways.”
Grobler has scored twice in 10 appearances for South Africa, and probably would have won more international caps but for an injury-plagued career.
– Rekindled hopes –
Victory rekindled hopes of a top-three finish for SuperSport and a place in the 2022 CAF Confederation Cup, the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.
TTM from northern city Polokwane created history last Saturday by winning the FA Cup for the first time, edging Chippa United 1-0 in a clash of league strugglers.
Although Chippa could only draw 0-0 at home to bottom club Black Leopards in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), they moved out of the bottom two on goal difference.
Leopards have 19 points and need a miracle to avoid finishing last and being automatically relegated having firing two coaches, Belgian Patrick Aussems and Maltese Dylan Kerr, this season.
TTM and Chippa (25 points each) and Stellenbosch (26) are in most danger of coming second last and going into a double round of playoffs with two second division sides for one Premiership place.
Kaizer Chiefs, who have won a record 53 domestic trophies but none since 2015, remain bogged down in mid table after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with fellow Soweto club Swallows.
Both goals were scored within 14 minutes of the kickoff as Kagiso Malinga put the visiting Swallows ahead and Colombian Leonardo Castro levelled.
A stalemate was predictable with Swallows drawing 17 of 26 matches on their return to top-flight football after five seasons in the lower leagues.