The timing of goals is just as important as the scoring of goals in football. In the PSL moreso, where goals are already in scant supply, scoring first is even more important. Going behind greatly reduces the chances of winning a game.
Only 12 teams this season have conceded the first goal and come back to win a league game this season. If conceding first makes things difficult, trailing at half-time makes things even harder. Even Mamelodi Sundowns have come back from a half-time losing position only once since Pitso took over in 2012.
8% – Only 8% of teams that were leading at half-time have gone on to win their match in the league this season.
Today, we dig into the times that goals were scored in the league season so far, dividing the duration of the game into 15-minute chunks. We’ll see which teams scored and conceded the most early goals, and also which teams scored the most goals late in the game.
Who scores early?
Kaizer Chiefs score the most goals in the opening minutes of matches. Indeed, three of the top 4 early scoring teams (Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns) also find themselves in the top four on the league table.
On the other end, Back Leopards, Highlands Park and Maritzburg scored the fewest goals in the opening minutes, with all these teams just scoring one early goal each. Orlando Pirates score the most goals this season as matches approach half-time (8). Later we’ll see they also score the most goals just after half-time.
0:17 – Thabo Rakhale scored the fastest goal in the league this season, coming just 17 seconds in Chippa’s away match to Black Leopards.
Who concedes early?
On the receiving end, Polokwane City and Leopards concede the most goals in the opening moments of games. Polokwane have allowed nine goals early on in their games. This has probably contributed to them being the worst defence in the league, conceding 36 goals altogether.
Leopards have conceded six early goals, just like Stellenboach. Surprisingly, 13th placed Baroka are the only team that have yet to concede a goal in the opening quarter-hour, and overall they have a really strong defensive record in the first-half:
5 – Baroka have conceded just 5 goals in the first-half of league games this season, the best record of all PSL top-flight sides.
Who scores late?
Late goals could be even more important when the league resumes. With five subs available during the restart, the big teams may have an added advantage if they have quality players coming off the bench. Chiefs lead the league for late goals, with 11 and these late goals have been crucial for them securing wins against Highlands Park on an opening day (83rd minute), Cape Town City (80th minute), Pirates (84th minute), Golden Arrows (93rd minute).
Who concedes late?
Highlands Park and Stellenbosch concede the most goals in the final 15-minutes of matches and are the only teams that have conceded at least 10 goals in that period of games. Besides scoring the most goals late on, Chiefs have also proved solid and focused as the games conclude.
1 – Kaizer Chiefs conceded just one goal in the final 15-minutes of matches this season, the fewest of all top-flight sides.
Bonus stats: who scores first?
The league table current Top three Chiefs, Sundowns and Supersport all have this in common – they’ve scored more opening goals than any of the other sides, doing so on 16 occasions. For Sundowns, the first goal stats are made even better on two fronts.
Firstly, they’ve only played 21 games, so they’ve opened the scoring in 76% of their matches – a league-high proportion. Secondly, they have conceded the opening goal only three times this season, also the best record of all teams.
So even if they have come back from half-time just once under Pitso, it’s important to note that they rarely concede the first goal.
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By Opta Jabu