Kaizer Chiefs visit the Tuks Stadium this evening for an away fixture against Bloemfontein Celtic aiming to extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points.
Following an incredible come-from-behind victory over Polokwane City, the title race took yet another twist over the last few days, as fellow title hopefuls, Mamelodi Sundowns went on to 3-2 against Cape Town City. With just one win in their last four matches, and a double-digit lead at the top reduced to just three points, some may have feared the Amakhosi train had run out of steam.
However, the equation is much more straightforward now – 12 points from the next four games will be enough for a first title win in 5 years. 10 points from the next four will also be enough, on condition that they beat Sundowns in the third of those four games next week.
The first of those four games is tonight when Chiefs take on the Nedbank Cup finalists, Celtic. The corresponding fixture this season was a roller-coaster ride and produced eight goals, as Chiefs beat Celtic 5-3 in November last year. The eight-goal total is already the highest number of goals seen in this particular fixture in a single PSL season.
Celtic showed a lot of tactical nous and adventure in that game, but also came away with some unhelpful records. For starters, they became the first Celtic team to lose a league game having scored three or more goals in the game. They also were the first Celtic team to open the scoring against Chiefs and yet go on to lose. These stats highlight a team with a mixed record against Chiefs.
1 – Siwelele have won just one of the last 20 league encounters in this fixture (Drawn 11 Lost 8), going back to 2009/10 when Chiefs were led by Vladimir Vermezovic.
Their sole victory in the last ten years came in April last year, also against Ernst Middendorp. In fact, Celtic are one of only five teams that Middendorp has lost to in both his spells as Chiefs coach. A look at the dugout and Celtic will see a coach they managed to outsmart just over a year ago.
A look at their opponents and they’ll see a team that they managed to breach three times in 35 minutes last December. That was also the only time that Celtic scored three goals in a league match in four seasons.
3 – Celtic are the only PSL side that have managed to score more than two goals against Chiefs ever since Middendorp took charge in December 2018.
Depending which Celtic show up tonight, we could be in for another thriller. If the Celtic that won in April 2019 (or the Celtic that played the first half in December last year) turn up, this could be another interesting game. Yet, if the Celtic that failed to score a league goal against Chiefs for six years between 2011 and 2017 shows up, Chiefs could win and take another giant step towards the title
SuperSport v Polokwane
In the other fixture, SuperSport will host relegation strugglers Polokwane City at the Bidvest Stadium this afternoon. Polokwane have lost every one of their last nine league games played away. We’ve already seen Cape Town City reverse their winless away curse when playing in the bubble, so perhaps Polokwane’s “away” results will also improve. They have this one record currently going in their favour:
0 – Since he started coaching the club as caretaker in March 2018, Kaitano Tembo has faced Polokwane in four league matches, and hasn’t registered a win. They are one of only three sides he’s played and failed to beat (also Cape Town City and Stellenbosch).
Thursday 20 August
Stellenbosch v Cape Town City
The two Western Cape sides will play their derby in Gauteng. They have only met once in the past, and Cape Town City won that match 1-0. Both sides also won their opening games in the restart, and both won 1-0.
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By Opta Jabu