Day 16 in the PSL bio-bubble promises to be a Super Sunday as the Western Cape faces off against Soweto this afternoon.
Cape Town City are up against Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld Stadium at 3.30pm, while Kaizer Chiefs face Stellenbosch at Orlando Stadium at 6pm.
It remains to be seen whether Chiefs will take advantage of Mamelodi Sundowns’ slip-up this time and firm up their grip atop the Absa Premiership table. Sundowns dropped two points on Friday after their 2-2 draw with Maritzburg United, and a Chiefs win would increase the points gap to eight.
Today’s games also include a fight for the golden boot between leading scorer Gabadinho Mhango, who has 14 goals, Samir Nurkovic (13) and Kermit Erasmus (12).
ANOTHER BUCS-CITY GOAL FEST ON THE CARDS?
Pirates versus City fixtures have a reputation for producing a glut of goals – 14 in their past three league meetings (3-3, 2-2 and 2-2).
The match coincides with Bucs’ recent drought that saw them ending a four-match run without a goal and a 1-1 draw against Baroka midweek.
Mhango is having a goal drought and has not scored in the past six games.
Erasmus, a former Pirates player, found form just when City needed him the most. He scored the last time the two teams met in the first round, in a game that ended 3-3 in Orlando.
Bucs are all but out of the title race as they are now nine points behind leaders Chiefs. Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer recently told the media that the lockdown had affected his team negatively.
“In the past three games, the results were not good for me, and the first and second games were not easy. The momentum was broken after the lockdown and we are seeing this on the field at the moment,” he said.
IN-FORM ROOKIES VS STUTTERING LOG LEADERS
Chiefs’ 1-3 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic raises questions about their championship mentality. Amakhosi were offered a huge favour by Maritzburg on Friday when the Team of Choice drew 2-2 with Sundowns, who fluffed a chance to narrow the gap at the top with this result.
Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp tried to suggest that it was unthinkable that his team, which has been at the summit of the table since September, could lose it all with five games remaining.
“We have been in position one for 22 games and we have five games to go. We are not panicking or counting points and positions and expecting results from other fields. It’s in our hands and that’s what counts,” said Middendorp, adding that he did not even celebrate Downs’ 3-2 loss to Cape Town City.
Chiefs face a Stellies side that has found good form since the restart of the season. Stellenbosch have won their two games so far against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows, both with 1-0 margins.
Stellies head coach Steve Barker will attempt to exploit the glaring frailties at the back of Chiefs.
Amakhosi have conceded six goals in the three games in the bio-bubble so far. Middendorp acknowledged that his team’s penchant for letting in goals at critical stages was cause for concern.
“This is definitely something to highlight,” he said.
He confirmed that attacking midfielder Lebogang Manyama was unavailable due to injury.
MAKE OR BREAK
Starting from tomorrow, it is do or die for Sundowns. After dropping seven points in their opening three games (one defeat and two draws), time is running out for the defending champions to show their intention.
They face equally frustrated Golden Arrows, who are also chasing a win. However, the big assignment is on Thursday against Chiefs, where failure by coach Pitso Mosimane to beat the log leaders will effectively surrender the title to their rivals.