Three things happened the last time Maritzburg United visited Cape Town City, in October 2019. The visitors won 1-0, Thabiso Kutumela scored the winner and that turned out to be Benni McCarthy’s last game at the club.
What are the odds of these three things happening again? Thabiso Kutumela is arguably the league’s form striker of the last two months. Maritzburg desperately needs the win – perhaps more than CT City do. City’s current coach is on “administrative leave” following a string of poor results.
8 – CT City went on a run of eight games without a win between the end of January and the start of April, the longest such run in their top-flight history.
This eclipsed the seven-game winless run that had led to Benni McCarthy’s contract termination in 2019. Although CT City seemed to have recovered a bit since the eight-game run, placing the coach on administrative leave raised a few eyebrows.
But, Maritzburg will have their own interests to look out for.
A win for them would leave a six-point gap from 15th placed Chippa, with two games to play – effectively securing another top-flight season.
Ernst Middendorp will be keen to get that breathing space as soon as possible. And, what better place to go to than a city that has been a happy hunting ground for you in the last few years. The German has won on each of his last four visits to Cape Town with two different clubs – a run going back to November 2016.
4 – Middendorp is also unbeaten in four league games against Cape Town City (Drew 1, Won 3) in all competitions, and even completed a league double against City with Chiefs last season.
A massive improvement defensively will be needed if they want to keep that run going. The Citizens are the only side in the top-flight that has scored more than 20 goals in home matches (24), with just one blank at home all year in eight games. Plus, they are the last Cape team to score against a visiting Maritzburg – three goals in February 2019.
1 – Maritzburg have kept one clean sheet in eight games played since the beginning of April. Chiefs (12) are the only side that has conceded more goals in that time (10).
That said, the goals are drying up a bit for Cape Town City, who have now been overtaken by Sundowns as the league’s top scorers. One goal in three games is not exactly disastrous, but two successive blanks is a bit of a rare sight on these shores.
1 – Cape Town City have failed to score in back-to-back league matches for the first time this season, and the first time since Riekerink’s opening four games in November/December 2019.
There’s one man for whom goals are not a problem – Thabiso Kutumela. The striker has scored 44% of his team’s goals in the league this season (12/27) – the highest proportion of any PSL player.
He’s already set a new record for most goals by a Maritzburg player in a single top-flight season (12), and may have the Golden Boot in sight. But away from home, the goals don’t flow as easily for The Team of Choice.
9 – Maritzburg (9) are one of only two sides (alongside TTM, 6) that have scored less than 10 goals away from home this season.
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Arrows will be looking to rediscover some of their early-season form. Mandla Ncikazi’s side has won just once in their last eight games, with Stellenbosch the only side with fewer wins since that run began in the middle of March.
9 – Arrows need nine points in their last three games to set a new club record for most points in a top-flight season. The current record is 51 in the 2002/3 season.
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By Opta Jabu