Title chase wide open

2011-04-16 00:00

WITH three points separating the top four teams and four matches to go, this season’s thrilling Premier Soccer League title race really is going down to the wire.

Orlando Pirates, league leaders going into the weekend on 53 points, have been the most consistent team and have the best defence, conceding a miserly 19 goals, which is matched only by fifth-placed Bloemfontein Celtic. The Buccaneers face Platinum Stars at Royal Bafokeng Stadium tomorrow.

Some of the myth surrounding Pirates’ focus and application in defence was exploded by Ajax Cape Town’s 3-0 destruction of the Soweto giants a month ago.

The young, confident Capetonians, revelling under Foppe de Haan in the Dutchman’s last season before retiring from coaching, were due to play Lamontville Golden Arrows at Newlands last night (result below).

For Mamelodi Sundowns, the return to their ranks, and also goal-scoring form, of Bafana Bafana star Katlego Mphela has been the key aspect of their recovery from a mid-season slump, and the Brazilians are right back in the mix for the title.

Downs will aim to flex their superior player power against AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium this afternoon.

The fourth challengers for the title, Kaizer Chiefs, were many people’s favourites given the stylish defeats they were dishing out in the first half of the season.

Amakhosi, who face relegation favourites Mpumalanga Black Aces at Peter Mokaba Stadium tonight, appeared to be floundering but have bounced back from a five-match winless streak with two impressive victories.

And like Sundowns, Chiefs will have been further buoyed by the return to scoring form of Mphela’s leading rival for the PSL top scorer award (both have 13 goals), Knowledge Musona.

“Aces will be difficult to play against because they trying to avoid relegation. For us it’s again about getting down to work and going all out for a win,” said the Zimbabwean.

A defeat for last-placed Aces could officially relegate the Mpumalanga team.

Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi said the Buccaneers will expect a characteristically tough outing against Owen Da Gama’s robust Platinum Stars tomorrow, who are themselves not completely clear of relegation danger.

“It’s a big game for Stars, so they won’t need any extra motivation to do well against the log leaders,” Lekgwathi told his club’s website.

Today: Moroka Swallows v Vasco Da Gama (Dobsonville Stadium, 3 pm), AmaZulu v Mamelodi Sundowns (Moses Mabhida Stadium, 3 pm – live on SuperSport 4), SuperSport United v Santos (Lucas Moripe Stadium, 8.15 pm – live on SuperSport 4), Kaizer Chiefs v Mpumalanga Black Aces (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 8.15 pm)

Tomorrow: Bloemfontein Celtic v Free State Stars (Seisa Ramabodu Stadium, 3 pm – live on SuperSport 4), Platinum Stars v Orlando Pirates (Royal Bafokeng Stadium, 3 pm – live on SABC1)

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