Battles for title, top 8 and survival among PSL sides

2017-05-16 14:25
Top-eight contenders Maritzburg United will be looking to revive their morale by bagging a win away to champions Mamelodi Sundowns tomorrow night.

Top-eight contenders Maritzburg United will be looking to revive their morale by bagging a win away to champions Mamelodi Sundowns tomorrow night. (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

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Sport24 analysis: Three-horse race as PSL season nears the end

2017-05-08 14:11

With three rounds left of the 2016/ 17 ABSA Premiership season, Sport24 takes a closer look at the title favourites. Watch. WATCH

As clubs prepare for the penultimate round of fixtures in the Absa Premiership on Wednesday night, the races for the championship, top-eight finishes and to avoid relegation also look set to go down to the wire.

Maritzburg United, under the guidance of interim coach Fadlu Davids, will continue their charge for a top-eight spot when they battle defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium, before ending their campaign against Bloemfontein Celtic at home on May 27.

After what happened last season — when they escaped relegation on the final day of the season — United have a point to prove.
Davids’ youthful side, who only have defender-cum-midfielder Kwanda Mngonyama sidelined through suspension, are placed seventh on the log table with 36 points from 28 matches, and will eye nothing but a full house of points in Tshwane on Wednesday.

Pitso Mosimane’s Sundowns cannot afford to falter, either, as they have to win their last two games and hope that their main title rivals, Bidvest Wits, drop points in their remaining fixtures.

Golden Arrows, who are joint-eighth with Ajax Cape Town, have a chance to land a hammer blow to Cape Town City’s slender title hopes when they travel to the Athlone Stadium, as they plan to finish the season in the upper half of the standings.

However, Abafana Bes’thende from Durban must rely on Orlando Pirates, who also still have a mathematical chance to make the top eight, to stop the Urban Warriors in Soweto and return to winning ways after going three games without a win.

At the other end of the table, it is also likely to be decided on the final day, with five teams in danger of getting the axe.

Bloem Celtic, Free State Stars and Highlands Park are separated by one and two points respectively, while Chippa United and Baroka FC are a further point behind in joint rock-bottom spot.

Arguably the most crucial game of the round takes place at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium where hosts Baroka and Highlands Park square off, as they both look to survive the drop after both securing promotion to top-flight football last season.

Neighbours Free State Stars and Bloem­ Celtic, who are also lingering in the bottom five, will clash in a Free State derby in a match that could decide their fate in the top tier.

A win for either team would almost guarantee survival.

WEDNESDAY’S FIXTURES (7.30 pm):
Maritzburg United v Mamelodi Sundowns
Platinum Stars v Kaizer Chiefs
Free State Stars v Bloemfontein Celtic
Bidwest Wits v Polokwane City
Golder Arrows v Cape Town City FC
Baroka FC v Highlands Park
Chippa United v SuperSport United
Ajax Cape Town v Orlando Pirates

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  absa premiership

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