Arrows face Ajax in a must-win encounter

2014-04-09 00:00

THINGS continue to look promising for two of KwaZulu-Natal’s three PSL clubs heading into another round of midweek fixtures today and tomorrow, but all eyes will be very firmly on Umlazi’s Golden Arrows as they travel to Cape Town Stadium for a date with Ajax in a must-win clash tonight.

The situation at Arrows is dire, and relegation beckons after seven successive league defeats have left Abafana Bes’thende on the bottom of the table eight points away from safety with only six rounds of fixtures remaining.

Performing an escape from that position would be a tough ask even for a side playing well, but in Arrows’ case it is near impossible.

Victory tonight is an absolute necessity if they are to start an unlikely path towards closing the gap on 15th placed Free State Stars, who are also in action tonight when they host SuperSport United.

The only encouragement for Arrows is that they were not completely outplayed in their 1-0 loss at Maritzburg United on Sunday, manufacturing a few chances of their own throughout a match in which their defence looked as solid as it has in recent weeks. It was an early strike from Maritzburg’s Orlando Smeekes that stole the points that day, and things could have gone very differently had Arrows kept the scores level for a while longer.

But, that is history, and Arrows are quite simply out of time. They will need to leave all inhibitions in Durban tonight and take on Ajax with a fearless mentality. Shaun Bartlett and his charges have nothing left to lose.

The story at Maritzburg, also in action tonight as they travel to Polokwane City, is one of optimism. Back-to-back wins at SuperSport United and then at home to Arrows have lifted the Team of Choice to 30 points on the table with five matches remaining, and that will almost certainly be enough to secure top-flight status next season.

Smeekes remains United’s danger man, but with a Nedbank Cup quarter-final at African Warriors on the cards for this weekend, coach Steve Komphela might be tempted to rest his in-form man tonight.

United have scored in every match they have played in since Komphela took over early this year, and the seasoned coach has begun rotating his squad regularly in recent weeks, seeing the likes of Terrance Mandaza, Heinrich Isaacks, Ashley Harthog, Virgil Vries and Ayanda Nkosi enjoying some welcomed game time.

It seems that Komphela and United can do no wrong at the moment, so much so that it would seem logical for them to be considered favourites tonight.

AmaZulu are not in action until next Wednesday when they travel to Platinum Stars.

Both KZN matches tonight kick off at 7.30 pm, and neither will be televised.

TONIGHT’S PSL FIXTURES

Free State Stars v SuperSport United

Kaizer Chiefs v Black Aces

Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloem Celtic

Ajax Cape Town v Golden Arrows

Wits v Platinum Stars

Polokwane City v Maritzburg United.

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