Maritzburg United beat Kaizer Chiefs in a league encounter last night, a result that brought another twist to a title race that already has more twists and turns than a thrill ride at Gold Reef City.
The result came as a surprise to many, but as we highlighted yesterday, the Team of Choice are a team in form – no PSL team has won more points than them since the start of December.
Amakhosi’s only consolation on the night was setting a new record of scoring in 15 successive games, having failed at 14 three times previously (1999, 2014 and 2017). The defeat opened the door for the likes of Bidvest Wits and especially Mamelodi Sundowns, who
are now seven points behind with a game in hand.
Masandawana made light work of
ten-men Chippa, winning 3-0, their joint biggest win of the season. For Chippa, it meant they will go another season without beating Sundowns, the only opponent they’ve played at least twice in the league and never beaten (P14 W0 D6 L8).
Is the window open for Orlando Pirates?
If the Chiefs defeat opened the door for Sundowns & Wits to join the title race, it may have also opened a small window for Orlando Pirates. The Buccaneers find themselves now mentioned in the title-race discussions, following an incredible run of form under their new coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Pirates have won the most games (6), scored the most goals (15) and collected the most points (19) in the league since the German’s first game.
The Nedbank Cup defeat to Wits is the only blemish in what has been a resurrection for the Ghost (pun intended). If their current form leads Bucs fans to have hope of a title push,
then their results in the final ten games of the last two seasons will be enough to give them the expectation of a title push.
2 – In each of the last two seasons, Pirates have won the most points in the final ten
games of the league season (24 last season, and 25 in 2017/18).
The Leopards clash is the return leg of what was Zinnbauer’s first game in charge, and Pirates will be aiming to complete a league double over them.
Historically, Leopards are Pirates’ favorite opponent and the stats point to a continuation of that dominance.
81% – Of teams currently in the #AbsaPrem, Orlando Pirates have the best win percentage against Leopards (81%) .
1.86 – Pirates also average 1.86 goals per game in matches against Leopards, more than
they do against any other top flight opponent. A win against Leopards would be Bucs’ sixth on the trot and would leave Pirates six points behind Chiefs, before the sides meet in a Soweto Derby at the end of the month.
A win in the derby & Pirates would be just 3 points behind Chiefs, albeit with a game in hand – something that was unimaginable just 2 months ago.
6 – Should Pirates win their #AbsaPrem game vs Black Leopards this afternoon, Josef Zinnbauer will join Roy Barreto (2002) and Ruud Krol (2011) as the only coaches to have overseen a run of six successive league wins for Pirates in the PSL era. They’ve never won seven in a row, and it would be a memorable record for Zinnbauer to set in the derby.
Polokwane City v Cape Town City
1 – A victory for Cape Town City will result in their first double of the season and their first over Polokwane City since they (CT City) joined the PSL in 2016.
13 – Since they joined the PSL in 2016, Cape Town City have scored more goals against
Polokwane City than any other side (13).
1 – Polokwane City have won just one of their last 15 league matches, drawing two and
losing the other 13.
By Opta Jabu