Five Stats: PSL Midweek matches

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Kaizer Chiefs have registered their first win of the DStv Premiership campaign on Wednesday as they beat Baroka 2-1 at FNB Stadium, while Maritzburg United suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of newcomers Sekhukhune United.

Opta Jabu breaks down some interesting stats from the midweek clashes.

1. Chiefs cruise to victory (at first).

For a moment, Chiefs fans’ dreams were coming true – Keagan Dolly was combining well with Khama Billiat, creating chance after chance. Their defence was untroubled, and they could have scored 4 goals in the first half on Wednesday.

Cast your mind back a few days back and remember where Chiefs were – knocked out of the MTN8, one shot on target against TS Galaxy, and without a win in three successive games across three different competitions. Although the second half was unnecessarily nervy, Chiefs held on for their first win of the season, with Khama Billiat marking a personal milestone.

91 – Billiat is now level with Wilfred Mugeyi as the top scoring Zimbabwean player in the PSL era (91 goals, all competitions). He now needs 9 goals to join the five-member 100-goal club.

2. Middendorp falls to league newbies

Because of his longevity, there is often a swell of goodwill and respect towards coaches like Ernst Middendorp. In a time where PSL statuses have been so easily traded, coaches like Middendorp (300+ games) and Gavin Hunt (900+ games) are the one cue of stability in the league. But such longevity also begets expectations for an experienced coach, especially against newly-promoted clubs.

Before Wednesday, nine newly promoted sides had visited Maritzburg with Middendorp in charge, and only one (Black Leopards in 2012) had returned home victorious. Sekhukhune made that two.

6 – Maritzburg are now winless in six matches (D2 L4 since the beginning of May), their longest such run since Ernst Middendorp returned to the club.

3. Tinkler inspires comeback

There is always one image fans attach as a team characteristic for a particular season. Last season, the Citizens were known for their defensive woes (three clean sheets in their first 20 games). The season before City were known for woeful away form (winless in eleven away games until lockdown). But the template is clean for Eric Tinkler in his second spell, and the early signs are looking like he is painting a good picture.

1 – This was only the 2nd time that CT City came back to win from a half-time deficit away from home (D5 L15 from such situations since they became a top-flight club).

4. Pirates stutter

There is no shame in drawing two games. But when those two games come at the start of the season, and on the back of an MTN8 knockout, it can be a little unsettling. Drawing 2-2 with ten men was brave – even Pirates reported their efforts as “valiant”. When you see that Stellenbosch are now joint-top of the table going into the international break, that bravery is somewhat confirmed.

Yet, the 0-0 draw against Marumo Gallants can not be praised in the same way, especially when you consider that traditional rivals Chiefs and Sundowns have registered their first wins.

2 – Only two sides (Sundowns 1998/99 and Sundowns 06/07) have gone on to win the league despite failing to win any of their two league games.

5. SupersSport go top

Two weeks after getting knocked out of the MTN8 by Golden Arrows, Supersport managed to get their revenge. Kaitano Tembo was celebrating his 100th league game (including games as a caretaker), and the celebration was crowned with a resounding 3-1 win over Arrows.

Only a late penalty denied them a second successive clean sheet, something that has not happened since the bio-bubble last year. But looking at Supersport on top of the league table, Tembo will be all smiles.

100 – Tembo is only the third Supersport coach to reach 100 league games at the club – after Pitso Mosimane (175) and Gavin Hunt (180).

RELATED STORYSTATS: PSL Midweek Matches

By Opta Jabu