MTN8 Review

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It is probably too early to predict what the 2021/22 season has in store, but if the weekend games are anything to go by, we could be in for some drama.

If drama is what we wanted this season, then the season premiere has given us that in bucket loads. The holders and the Cup specialist knocked out penalty shootouts and goals not just in every game, but by every team.

Throw in some of the expected (Peter Shalulile scoring) and the unexpected (Bernard Parker scoring), and you have an intriguing storyline, which we’ve tried to summarise with these 8 key stats from the MTN8 quarter-final.

  1. Everyone Joined the Party!

The quarter-finals were a goal feast, with at least three goals scored in every match. We also saw two Desmonds and all eight teams found the net at least once.

2 – This was only the 2nd time in PSL history that all eight sides have scored in the Top 9 quarter-finals (also the 2004 SAA Supa8).

  1. Goals Goals Goals!!

The other side of that coin is that this was only the 2nd time all teams failed to keep a clean
sheet. But certainly, it’s the goals that are more impressive.

14 – All in all, 14 goals were scored in the weekend’s MTN8 Quarter Finals, just one shy of the PSL era record for Top 8 quarter-finals (15 goals scored in 2008 and 2015).

  1. Pirates Knocked Out

Swallows beat defending champions Pirates 2-1 on Saturday evening in what was billed as the original Soweto derby. Josef Zinnbauer was looking to become just the 2nd coach to retain the Top 8 trophy, but instead, he takes home an unwanted record:

2 – Zinnbauer became just the 2nd PSL era coach to be eliminated at the Quarter-Final stage as a titleholder (also Benni McCarthy in 2019).

  1. Benni Knocked Out

Benni McCarthy also suffered the same fate on Sunday evening, losing by the same scoreline 2-1. Losing was bad enough but losing to his former club (CT City) was pouring salt in the wound. Losing to a former teammate (Eric Tinkler) was adding extra spice onto the same wound.

1 – Only Free State Stars (P6 W0 L6) have played more matches than AmaZulu in the Top 8 without winning at least one (P5 W0 D1 L4).

  1. Chiefs Come Close

Trailing 2-0 after half an hour, Chiefs were in danger of being blown away by Sundowns at the start of a season once again. They were courageous enough to stage a comeback to 2-2, becoming the first side in PSL history to come from 2-0 down in a Knockout game against Sundowns and force the game into extra-time.

0 – No team in PSL history has ever come from 2-0 down in any competition against Sundowns to win the match.

Eight Stats from the MTN Quarter-Finals as Parker equals Shabba’s record

  1. Tembo Woes Continus

Golden Arrows needed extra time to knock Supersport out via penalties on Saturday afternoon. Having conceded first, Supersport were three minutes from a comeback victory in extra-time but succumbed to a late equaliser, and subsequently to penalties. With that, Kaitano Tembo failed to get a monkey off his back, which is slowly turning into a gorilla.

0 – Under Kaitano Tembo, SuperSport are yet to win any of the 51 domestic games in which
the opposition has scored the first goal (W0 D24 L27).

  1. Parker Equals Shabba

After half an hour, Kaizer Chiefs’ tournament hung in the balance. 2-0 down after a quarter of the game, it was the oft-maligned Parker who made the comeback. His long-awaited goal also brought him close to a club record.

58 – Parker’s opener against Sundowns was his 58th goal in all competitions for the club, making him the club’s joint top-scorer in the PSL with Siphiwe Tshabalala (PSL era only).

  1. Shalulile Torments Chiefs

Peter Shalulile continued where he left off last season, finding the net with what was his first goal in an #MTN8 match, in his 6th appearance in the competition. Chiefs will be happy to see the back of him, however, given how he has tormented them in the past:

3 – Shalulile’s first goal of a new season has come against Chiefs in three successive seasons (also in 2019/20 for Highlands Park, 2020/21 and 2021/22 for Sundowns).

8. Billiat Equals Grobler

Khama Billiat’s goal on Sunday was his first against his former club (yes Khama). It forced the Sundowns-Chiefs game into extra time, but by the time Chiefs lost the shootout, he was watching from the bench. But here’s some consolation:

1 – Billiat’s goal was his 6th in the Top 8 (two at Ajax, one at Sundowns, three at Chiefs). Only Daine Klate (12) has scored more goals in the competition.

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By Opta Jabu