There are few combinations in Mzansi football that work as well as Maritzburg and Friday nights. The Team of Choice has a notoriously strong record when hosting other teams on Fridays, mostly in evening kick-offs.
They are currently unbeaten in 20 league games played at home on a Friday night (W13 D7 L0), since losing to Free State Stars in September 2017. But Sundowns haven’t faced them on a Friday, in this period, so today will be something new.
The other new aspect is that they’ll be playing host in Gauteng, which is the new normal for all teams. As a matter of fact, tonight’s “home” game is at Lucas Moripe stadium in Atteridgeville, a stadium that Sundowns know too well.
They play some home games there. Literally speaking, Sundowns will be home away from home. Downs will be even more comfortable coming into tonight’s clash given their previous record when facing Maritzburg.
0 – Maritzburg have never beaten a Sundowns side coached by Pitso Mosimane in the League, drawing four and losing the other eight matches they’ve played since he joined Masandawana.
They are one of six current top-flight clubs that have yet to beat a Mosimane coached Sundowns in the league. Their only two victories over Pitso have come in Cup competitions (one in the 2017/18 MTN8 and one in the 2017/18 Nedbank Cup, where Sundowns were reduced to 10 men).
Yet, with Eric Tinkler at the helm, Maritzburg can approach the tie with confidence. Tinkler was the mastermind when Cape Town City beat Sundowns twice in 2016/17, and is one of only two coaches to complete a league double over Pitso Mosimane (Bernard Molekwa at Polokwane City the other).
More recently, he has also been at the helm of one of the most impressive records of 2020.
21 – Maritzburg have won 21 points since the start of 2020 (Won 6 Drew 3). Only Pirates (23 points having played a game more) have won more than them this year.
Tonight they face a Sundowns side with their own title ambitions. A win and they can cut the lead at the top to just three points, ahead of next week’s mammoth clash against Kaizer Chiefs.
Bidvest Wits v AmaZulu
Wits host AmaZulu at FNB stadium in search of their first win since the restart. The AmaZulu fixture is the second in a trio of successive KZN opponents for Wits, having faced Arrows midweek and Maritzbrg coming up on Monday. Gavin Hunt’s men are on a frustrating run of three successive draws, and will be hoping to break that run with a win against Usuthu.
4 – The last time Wits drew four league games in a row was in 2004/5, a run of six consecutive draws between November 2004 and January 2005.
Polokwane v Highlands Park
Relegation battling Polokwane host Highlands Park at Loftus Versveld on Saturday. City have the worst 100% record since the restart, losing both their games with a net score of -5. Unless results start to change and they add to their 23 points, they will be in danger of a first relegation since they were promoted.
2 – Only two of the 11 sides that had 23 points or less at this stage of the season have finished higher than 15th since Polokwane City came into the top-flight in 2013.
Baroka v Chippa
Baroka battled to a draw against Pirates during the week to keep their survival hopes alive. They could find themselves at the foot of the table by kick-off if the three teams below them all win their games. Indeed, the relegation battle is as thrilling as the title race.
1 – Baroka have won just one of the seven fixtures they’ve played against Chippa since they
(Baroka) were promoted in 2016.
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By Opta Jabu