Second-from-bottom meets second-from-top on Sunday afternoon when Black Leopards and Swallows FC clash in the final PSL match day of the 2020 calendar year.
After Maritzburg failed to beat Stellenbosch on Friday night, Lidoda Duvha are guaranteed not to be bottom of the table at the end of the year. By any standards, that is scant consolation.
5 – Five points in their opening seven games is Leopards’ worst start to a top-flight campaign since 2002/03, when they had just three points from seven games. Lacklustre.
As if things could not get any harder, they now have to host one of the best teams of the season so far in Swallows FC. The Dube Birds have hit the ground running in the top-flight and are yet to lose a game this season. They also boast the best defence, one that has conceded only two goals in their opening seven games.
To put that in context, no PSL side in the last five seasons has reached this stage of the season having conceded 2 goals or less, and only one side (Chiefs 2014/15) has managed that in the last decade.
The defensive structure has contributed to a really strong start for recently crowned Coach of the Month Brandon Truter.
15 – Swallows FC’s 15 points from their opening seven games is the best start to a top-flight season for a newly promoted side in PSL history.
It means Leopards will have to dig deep if they want to end the year on a high note. Already, they have lost 15 games in 2020, the most they have lost in a single year since 2005 (16 losses). Even those 16 losses came from 37 games (48%),whereas the 15 losses this year have come from 23 games (65%). They can take some confidence in that they have scored at least once in every home
game this season, but that will be tested against the side that can rightfully claim to have the best defence in the land.
0 – Since football resumed in the bio-bubble in August, Swallows have played 13 games and are yet to concede an open-play goal. The three goals they have conceded have come from either penalties (2) or direct free-kicks (1).
History does not favor Leopards either, who previously played the old Moroka Swallows on 18 different occasions before they (Leopards) were relegated in 2012/13. Famously, Swallows beat
Leopards 5-2 to set up a thrilling title run-in against Orlando Pirates in the 2011/12 season. Ultimately, Leopards beat Moroka Swallows just once in the 18 matches between the two sides from 2001 to 2013.
6% – One win in 18 equated to a 6% win rate. Orlando Pirates (5%) are the only opponent that Leopards have a worse win percentage against (minimum 5 games played).
Chippa v AmaZulu
The other match of the day pits Chippa against AmaZulu, with both sides in search of their first win in 5 matches.
Benni McCarthy will be looking to start his new coaching stint on a positive note, having recently joined the ambitious KZN outfit.
7 – Since joining the top-flight in 2014, Chippa have won more league games against AmaZulu than versus any other PSL side.
By Opta Jabu