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South African PSL Preview

Last week, Orlando Pirates convincingly beat table-topping Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld.
Last week, Orlando Pirates convincingly beat table-topping Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld.
The second half of the 2017/18 season continues to be entertaining with only one match ending in a draw, the 1-1 stalemate between Chippa United and Bidvest Wits last week. In the biggest match of the weekend, Orlando Pirates convincingly beat table-topping Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld. Platinum Stars find themselves rooted to the foot of the table and SuperSport United are uncharacteristically two points above the relegation zone. Here’s what you can expect this weekend.

Friday 19 January

15/10 Bidvest Wits | Draw 21/10 | Bloemfontein Celtic 7/4 (20:00)

Bidvest Wits are second from the bottom with the same amount of points as bottom-placed Platinum Stars. Last week, they let slip a 1-0 lead to share the spoils with Chippa United at the very death. The defending champions have only won three matches this season. After starting the second half of the season convincingly, beating Golden Arrows 2-1, Bloemfontein Celtic were thrashed 4-0 by Maritzburg United last week. Veselin Jelusic’s men face a daunting task against relegation-threated Clever Boys at Bidvest Stadium. My money is on the home side.

Saturday 20 January

8/10 Cape Town City | 23/10 | Ajax Cape Town 33/10 (15:30)

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11/10 Free State Stars | 43/20 | Maritzburg United 49/20 (15:30)

Luc Eymael’s impact at Free State Stars is clearly evident, with Ea Lla Koto winning a staggering four matches in a row. They are now unbelievably second on the log with talk of potential relegation a distant memory. It’s very interesting to note that all these four consecutive victories were by one-goal margins. A rejuvenated Maritzburg United has won both their matches since the turn of the year and the way they were so ruthless against Bloemfontein Celtic last week sent out a strong message to all their PSL counterparts. They had four different players on the scoresheet which highlights the deadliness of their attack. I’m expecting these sides to cancel each other out.

11/20 Mamelodi Sundowns | 28/10 | Platinum Stars 9/2 (18:00)

It was the same old story of creating numerous chances and failing to convert them as Mamelodi Sundowns succumbed 3-1 to Orlando Prates on home soil last week. Dangerman, Percy Tau, did find the back of the net as he is now among the league’s top scorers with seven strikes to his name. Their sluggish defence must be a cause for concern and they should be wary against a team that’s fighting for survival. The table-toppers have lost three of their last five matches. Two successive defeats have seen Platinum Stars move back to the bottom of the table with 15 points in 17 games. After taking a first half lead, Dikwena conceded three goals in the last 17 minutes to lose 3-1 to Ajax Cape Town. Victory is on the cards for the hosts.

7/4 AmaZulu | 21/10 | SuperSport United 15/10 (20:15)

AmaZulu have been dreadful recently with a record of eight matches without a single victory. There’s talk of the team sacking Cavin Johnson soon. Usuthu are now third from the bottom with the same amount of points as the other two teams below them. This is a game between two struggling sides as SuperSport United have also gone eight matches without tasting victory. Jeremy Brockie’s departure to Sundowns will be a blow for the side that is momentarily camping in KwaZulu-Natal for three consecutive matches with all the province’s teams that are in the elite league. This will be a boring goalless draw.

11/20 Orlando Pirates | 28/10 | Polokwane City 9/2 (20:15)

A resurgent Orlando Pirates side has won back-to-back matches by a 3-1 scoreline and one of those was against high-flying Sundowns. Luvuyo Memela, who has found a new burst of energy, has netted on three occasions in those two matches. Jackson Mabokgwane has also been superb in goals, keeping opponents at bay and winning the Man of the Match award against The Brazilians. Polokwane City have had the toughest start to the second half of the season, facing the three PSL giants on the trot. In what was expected to be a disastrous start to 2018 they managed to collect maximum points against Mamelodi Sundowns but they relinquished a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to Kaizer Chiefs. I foresee another defeat for them against the other Soweto giants.

Sunday 21 January

21/10 Baroka | 43/20 | Kaizer Chiefs 5/4 (15:30)

Fifth-placed Baroka have never lost a competitive match to Kaizer Chiefs since their first meeting in 2011. They have a record of two wins and two draws but this will be a tricky encounter as both sides are evenly matches heading into the clash. Baroka beat AmaZulu 2-0 last week and they are just one point below their next opponents. On the flip side, Kaizer Chiefs are unbeaten in their last four league games, winning three of those encounters. Siphelele Ntshangase who came off the bench against Polokwane City will face his former team for the first time since leaving them two weeks ago. Chiefs should overcome their hoodoo and claim their first victory over Baroka this time.

13/10 Chippa United | 43/20 | Golden Arrows 2/1 (15:30)

Chippa United have collected four out of a possible six points since the start of 2018. They followed up a convincing 2-0 victory over AmaZulu with a hard fought 1-1 stalemate against Bidvest Wits, courtesy of a Kristopher Bergman 80th minute equaliser. How will they fare against Arrows who need to turn the corner? Arrows have finally won a professional football match after going 12 games without a victory. Orlando Pirates-bound Kudakwashe Mahachi’s last-gasp winner sealed all three points against SuperSport United at the Princess Magogo Stadium. Play it safe here and back Chippa Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/20.

TREBLE @ 4/1
Orlando Pirates Win 11/20
Mamelodi Sundowns Win 11/20
Kaizer Chiefs Win 5/4

Written by Benedict Ngwenya