Bidvest Wits started the new year with a bang as they climbed top of the Absa Premiership table after the opening round of 2016 fixtures over the weekend.
The Students were only one of four teams to win in the first week of action – with Mpumalanga Black Aces, Lamontville Golden Arrows and University of Pretoria also enjoying three-point starts.
Gavin Hunt’s men capitalised fully on a slip up by Mamelodi Sundowns as they overcame Chippa United 3-1 in Port Elizabeth.
Teenage sensation Phakamani Mahlambi (8), debutant James Keene (47) and Ben Motshwari (76) were al on target for Wits, while Andile Mbenyane scored what proved to be a consolation for the Chilli Boys.
The new leaders now have 29 points, two more than the Brazilians on 27 after they were held to a scoreless draw by Kaizer Chiefs in Johannesburg.
It was a seventh draw in 13 games for the Soweto giants and left them in fourth place on the table, five points adrift of Aces in third.
AmaZayoni edged past Polokwane City 1-0 thanks to a goal from the league’s top scorer, Collins Mbesuma, who took his tally to eight goals in 2015/16 following a 52nd minute penalty at the Mbombela Stadium.
Rise and Shine stayed in 13th place, four places behind Chippa in ninth.
Orlando Pirates, meanwhile, are 12th after a third draw of the season – this time against fifth-placed Platinum Stars.
Issa Sarr (34) had given the Buccaneers the lead at the Orlando Stadium, but Ndumiso Mabena (48) scored after the break to snatch a share of the spoils.
Arrows continued their impressive campaign by claiming a 3-1 triumph away at Free State Stars.
Deon Hotto (40), Gladwin Shitolo (51) and Kudakwashe Mahachi (87) netted for the Durbanites at Goble Park, where the only goal for the goal was a late penalty via last term’s top-scorer Moeketsi Sekola (82).
It was a result that left Ea Lla Koto down in 10th place and gave them a losing start to life under Italian coach Giovanni Solinas, although he was not on the bench for the clash.
Ajax Cape Town are below them in 11th after their winless run continued with a 2-2 draw at home to Bloemfontein Celtic.
The Urban Warriors, who last tasted victory of any sorts when they won the MTN8 title in September, needed a last-gasp Nathan Paulse (90) to rescue them at the Cape Town Stadium.
Frank Mhango (21) had given Siwelele the lead, before Toriq Losper (63) equalised. Thapelo Morena (84) had put the seventh-placed visitors on course for the win until Paulse’s late intervention, his fifth strike of the season.
There was also an intriguing plot playing out in the relegation zone after Tuks won for the first time since August when they beat fellow strugglers Jomo Cosmos 1-0 in Pretoria.
Willem Mwedihanga (23) scored the only goal at Tuks Stadium as the second-last hosts moved to nine points, one behind the visitors in third-last.
Bottom-placed Maritzburg United also made some gains thanks to a spirited 2-2 draw at SuperSport United in Polokwane.
Mondli Cele’s (8) early opener was cancelled out by Clayton Daniels (70), before Kwanda Mngonyama (75) helped the visitors regain the advantage. But Jeremy Brockie (88) struck at the death to earn a point for Matsatsantsa in eighth.