You may be forgiven to think that the much-talked about midweek clash between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns which saw Pitso Mosimane lose his first match at Orlando Stadium was the title-decider. But the 2019/2020 PSL season is offering a never-ending excitement as the title chase nears the end. And this weekend is not going to be any different.
Runaway log leaders, Kaizer Chiefs will look to make life difficult for defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns when they travel to Black Leopards for clash that will take place at the Thohoyandou Stadium at 15h30 on Saturday. Amakhosi have since recovered from the 2-1 loss to SuperSport United in their first match of 2020, proving mean in front goals. They won 3-0 against Highlands Park and Cape Town City, respectively, to get their title hopes back on track. With Leopards having a season from hell, having lost their last four matches, Chiefs could not have asked for a better opposition to take their lead to 12 points at the top of the log.
Later in the day, Orlando Pirates will be looking to continue from where they left off against Mamelodi Sundowns when they host struggling Highlands Park at the same venue they dealt a blow to Downs title hopes. The match will take place at 18h00 and Pirates are going into this one with the upper hand. They have won their last two matches with the newly-appointed German mentor, Joseph Zinnbauer, while Highlands Park have lost their last two matches.
Pirates need the win to consolidate their position into the top-eight bracket following a terrible start to the season, while eigth-placed Highlands Park needs points more than ever, or they will see themselves drop further down the log.
But one game to watch out for on Saturday is Cape Town City versus Bidvest Wits. While Sundowns seem to be throwing in the towel in their quest to defend their PSL title, Wits have emerged as the darkhorses for Kaizer Chiefs. The Students, as Wits are affectionately known, will be watching the Chiefs match against Leopards with keen interest – a spectator position that will be occupied by Chiefs later in the evening.
A loss or draw for Chiefs would open up an opportunity for them to catch up and narrow the 11-point gap, with four matches in hand. But a win for Chiefs continues to make their title chase even more difficult and puts them under psychological pressure making their match against City a must-win. City are sitting on 12th position on the log and are having a season from hell. They go into match on the back a 3-0 loss to Kaizer Chiefs which is expected to have dealt their confidence a huge blow. Kickoff is at 20h00.
On Sunday, Golden Arrows will fancy their chances of breaking into the top-8 bracket when face the seemingly NFD-bound Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium at 15h30. They broke their four-match losing streak which had started in November, when they beat Baroka 1-0. They will be looking to build on that win, but they would be making a big mistake to undermine Polokwane City who are looking to break out of the relegation zone on the log.
In another PSL match, inconsistency sums up the form of both Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa United who will face-off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
But all eyes will be on the clash of the day, the Pretoria Derby, when Mamelodi Sundowns take on SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium at 15h00. Pressure will be on Sundowns who are quickly falling off the title chase race against high-riding Kaizer Chiefs while SuperSport United will be in no mood to do them any favours. Matsatsantsa a Pitori are sitting 3rd on the log and while league seem to have eluded them, unless a miracle happens, they still have a realistic chances of finishing 2nd on the log to secure their place in the Caf Champions League next season. For that, they cannot afford to drop. Sundowns won their first-round match 2-0 against SuperSport United and the question is, will Kaitano Tembo’s men allow it to be 2-0 against Sundowns this season? That remains to be seen, with more than just bragging rights at stage.
Friday night results:
Maritzburg United 1 – 0 AmaZulu
Stellenbosch 1 – 0 Baroka