Plot thickens to win title

2018-03-14 06:00
Tigers’ Refiloe Nyapoli (in red and white) battle for the ball with Mangaung’s Mbulelo Nikani.Right: Kabelo Rapulane of Tigers (in red and white) and Likotsi Mabaleng of Mangaung during the derby fixture played at the Botshabelo Stadium on Saturday (10/03).Photos: Teboho Setena

Tigers’ Refiloe Nyapoli (in red and white) battle for the ball with Mangaung’s Mbulelo Nikani.Right: Kabelo Rapulane of Tigers (in red and white) and Likotsi Mabaleng of Mangaung during the derby fixture played at the Botshabelo Stadium on Saturday (10/03).Photos: Teboho Setena

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The Free State stream of the ABC Motsepe League championship is up for grabs with four teams eyeing the title.

It has seen dramatic turns in three weeks from a two-horse race to a four-team contest. All along it was between Mangaung Unite (first place) and Tshiame All Stars (third place).

It however saw another twist following Bloemfontein Young Tigers’ 2 – 1 victory over Mangaung in an intriguing derby at the Botshabelo Stadium on Saturday (10/03). This emphatic win propelled Tigers to the second spot, leaping over Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic, currently in fourth place. The result saw the points difference narrowed to one and two among the four top-seeded teams:

Mangaung 49 points, Tigers 48 points, and Stars and Celtic in third and fourth positions on 46 points, respectively.

Mangaung remain at the helm despite the loss to hometown rivals, Tigers. Both Mangaung and Tigers have claimed two wins of the four derbies, against the Central University of Technology (CUT) and Mangaung, while the latter had the better of CUT and the University of the Free State (Kovsies), respectively.

The plot for the champion title thickens, and it could benefit any of the four favou­rites – Stars, Mangaung, Tigers or Celtic.

Stars felt by the wayside when they lost by 2 - 0 to CUT in one of the four crucial games they are bound to play.

The remaining three tough matches Stars will play in Bloemfontein in the forthcoming two weeks, are against Mangaung, Tigers and Celtic. The three fixtures have great potential determining this year’s provincial title winner and the team to qualify for this year’s Safa national promotional play-offs. Harri­smith-based Stars and Mangaung could count their superior goal tally of 45 and 43, respectively. Tigers and Celtic need more maximum points to be at the best possible position to win the championship if two teams finish on equal points at the end of season.

The plot for the champion title thickens and it could benefit any of the four favourites – Stars, Mangaung, Tigers or Celtic.

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