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Orlando Pirates FC, winners of the 2011/12 Absa Premiership

Orlando Pirates FC, winners of the 2011/12 Absa Premiership

A week after Manchester City won the Barclays Premier League in a pulsating final weekend, Barclays other major football league sponsorship, the Absa Premiership in South Africa, found itself in a similar position, with two Soweto giants – Orlando Pirates FC and Moroka Swallows – both having the chance to win the title.

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The Pirates went into the final match two points ahead of the Swallows, and they both were playing against KwaZulu Natal-based teams – Golden Arrow and Maritzburg United respectively.

Two South African television channels – Supersport and South African Broadcasting Corporation – were broadcasting the matches simultaneously, with fans switching between channels as the matches unfolded.

The Pirates needed to win in Durban to be sure of the title. As defending champions, they were forced to come from 2-1 down against the Golden Arrows, to finally win 4-2. The Swallows were denied their first league title in 47 years, despite winning 1-0 at Maritzburg United.

The Pirates were trailing 2-1 in their contest at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, before Siyabonga Sangweni levelled before the interval. The experienced striker Benni McCarthy then netted just past the hour mark, helping his team place one hand on the trophy.

Elsewhere, the Swallows then took the lead through Lefa Tsutsulupa, moments after a goal had been disallowed.

An equaliser for the Golden Arrows would have gifted the Swallows with the title on goal difference, but McCarthy made sure this would not happen with his second of the afternoon in the final minute.

The Pirates’ win means they retain the Absa Premiership and also gain a second successive domestic treble. They had already won the South African League Cup and Top 8 Cup.

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