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South African PSL Preview

With just over 10 games to go before the PSL season wraps up – we’re in for drama, thrill and total bliss
With just over 10 games to go before the PSL season wraps up – we’re in for drama, thrill and total bliss
With just over 10 games to go before the current PSL season wraps up – we’re in for drama, thrill and total bliss. The clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns headlines this weekend’s action with Orlando Pirates seeking to return to winning ways when they visit bottom-placed Platinum Stars. Will Benni McCarthy’s temper cost Cape Town City? Will Muhsin Ertugral save Ajax Cape Town? Let’s head into week 19’s action!

Friday 26 January

18/10 Ajax Cape Town | Draw 21/10 | Free State Stars 15/10 (20:00)

Ajax couldn’t get the better of crosstown rivals, Cape Town City, in the iKapa derby on Saturday. The Urban Warriors finished the match with 10 men as Gerald Takwara received his marching orders for a second bookable offence before they conceded the solitary goal which decided the match. He is subsequently suspended for the next match. Free State Stars’ four-match winning run came to an abrupt end when they got smashed 3-0 at home by Maritzburg United. Their opponents are second from the bottom and that makes them a serious banana skin threat. Their quality can also never be underestimated. I’m tipping Free State Stars to edge it.

1/1 Maritzburg United | 21/10 | Chippa United 28/10 (20:00)

The Team of Choice have been superb since the turn of the year, winning three of their four games since the Christmas break. Last week they ended Free State Stars’ four-match winning streak with an emphatic 3-0 victory. This time they have home ground advantage. Chippa United tried every trick in the book to break a resolute Golden Arrows defence on Sunday with no success and they had to settle for a share of the spoils as the match ended goalless. That came after a 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits. Thabo Rakhale played but he showed signs of lacking match fitness at times and was substituted. I’m leaning towards the home side collecting maximum points.

Saturday 27 January

3/1 Platinum Stars | 22/10 | Orlando Pirates 9/10 (15:30)

Platinum Stars are rooted to the foot of the PSL table with four losses in their last five matches. They were no match for Mamelodi Sundowns who scored three world class goals in the first half to beat them 3-0. Coach Roger De Sa has denied rumours that the club is up for sale and said operations are just normal. Orlando Pirates nearly lost their first match in 2018 when they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Polokwane City, courtesy of a last-gasp Lyle Foster equaliser. The Buccaneers have collected seven out of a possible nine points since the turn of the year. I think Pirates should win this one convincingly.

14/10 Polokwane City | 2/1 | AmaZulu 2/1 (15:30)

Polokwane City almost collected maximum points against Pirates last week but they slipped up a 1-0 lead at the very death to only manage a share of the spoils. They have only played the big three since the start of 2018 – beating Sundowns, losing to Chiefs and drawing with Pirates. That is not a bad return against those quality opponents on the trot. AmaZulu silenced their critics, myself included, last week when the beat embattled SuperSport United 2-0. The 40-year old Siyabonga Nomvethe did find the back of the net, proving his worth to Cavin Johnson, who usually benches him. Goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha won man of the match as his efforts included saving a penalty but Usuthu will be without injured midfielder, Mhlengi Cele. I like AmaZulu but I think the hosts will be too strong for them.

12/10 SuperSport United | 21/10 | Bidvest Wits 23/10 (18:00)

SuperSport United have only won one of their last 10 games, suffering five defeats in the process. Matsatsantsa are uncharacteristically flirting with the relegation zone as they currently lie 11th with 20 points in 16 games. The MTN8 champions are having a shambolic season and at this rate they won’t defend their trophy. The PSL champions’ season hasn’t been any different from their opponents’ as they are only third from the bottom, however, The Clever Boys are on a three-match unbeaten run. They will be looking to claim all three points and steer clear of the drop zone. My money is on Wits, based on form.

15/10 Kaizer Chiefs | 2/1 | Mamelodi Sundowns 19/10 (20:15)

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Sunday 28 January

16/10 Bloemfontein Celtic | 2/1 | Cape Town City 17/10 (15:30)

Bloemfontein Celtic are too inconsistent this season with only one match won since the start of the new year. They head into this encounter off the back of two defeats, a 1-0 loss to Wits and a 3-0 hammering by Maritzburg United. Veselin Jelusic’s men currently lie ninth on the standings. Cape Town City have kept the title race respectable as they are only four points behind runaway leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns. They earned a hard-fought 1-0 win in the Cape Town derby last week. Coach Benni McCarthy might only watch this one from the stands due to a red card he got last week after confronting Muhsin Ertugral which resulted in a tunnel bust up after the match. My money is on City.

16/10 Golden Arrows | 2/1 | Baroka 17/10 (15:30)

Arrows aren’t really having the best of seasons with the team now resorting to defensive football due to unfavourable results. They managed to hold on for dear life against Chippa United to ensure the match ends goalless. They have only registered one victory in their last 14 matches. Baroka let their 1-0 lead slip to lose 2-1 to Kaizer Chiefs which left coach Kgoloko Thobejane frustrated and bemoaning lapses in concentration. Bakgaga are confronted with a huge task against a team in desperate need of results. Put your money on Arrows.

TREBLE @ 11/1
Orlando Pirates Win 9/10
Polokwane City Win 14/10
Golden Arrows Win 16/10

Written by Benedict Ngwenya