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Fri May 26 01:53:26 SAST 2017

The PSL this weekend: No easier for desperate Pirates against CTN City

Nick Said | 2017-02-17 13:44:45.0
Lebogang Manyama of Cape Town City and Bernard Morrison of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City at Orlando Stadium on September 20, 2016 in Soweto, South Africa.
Image by: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

There are five more matches in the Absa Premiership this weekend‚ including a trip for ailing Orlando Pirates to the Mother City to face Cape Town City. Times Media Digital provides a quick guide of what you can expect from the fixtures.

SATURDAY

LAMONTVILLE GOLDEN ARROWS VS FREE STATE STARS‚ 3.30pm

Free State Stars were perhaps unlucky not to earn all three points in their midweek 0-0 draw at home to SuperSport United‚ but face a difficult away day at the Princess Magogo Stadium against Lamontville Golden Arrows on Saturday.

Stars have won just one of their last 17 away league games‚ that success coming at Bloemfontein Celtic almost a year ago‚ and have lost each of their last five on the road.

If they are to pull away from the relegation zone they need to pick up points away‚ though coach Serame Letsoaka would be likely to see a point against his former side as a positive.

Golden Arrows beat another Free State side in midweek with a 2-1 win against Celtic‚ ending a run of seven games without victory. Another win would cement their place in the top eight.

Abafana Bes’thende have won their last three games against Stars‚ while intriguingly only one of the last 14 games between these two sides has ended in a draw. Stars’ last win at Golden Arrows came in 2013.

POLOKWANE CITY VS AJAX CAPE TOWN‚ 3.30pm

Ajax Cape Town had gone into the New Year as one of the form sides in the Absa Premiership with five wins from their previous six matches‚ but that joy has quickly dissipated after two disappointing results at the start of 2017.

A shambolic 5-0 hammering at the hands of Bidvest Wits was followed by a 2-0 loss to rivals Cape Town City and suddenly the Urban Warriors are looking over their shoulders at the relegation mix again.

A trip to Polokwane is on paper another difficult clash for the side‚ though they have won their last two visits to City’s home ground‚ and have won four and drawn two of their last six meetings home and away.

Ajax are likely to be without striker Prince Nxumalo again due to his latest epileptic episode‚ though they will have Zambian forward Aubrey Funga available after he received his work permit.

City have lost just one of their seven home games this season‚ though they have frustratingly been involved in two draws since the restart of the league‚ both 1-1 at home to Maritzburg United and away at Highlands Park.

They also had to come from behind to grab a point in each of those games.

KAIZER CHIEFS VS HIGHLANDS PARK‚ 6pm

Kaizer Chiefs are chasing a fifth win in succession for the first time under coach Steve Komphela and have looked a vastly improved side from the one that spluttered along in the first half of the season.

The return to form of their veterans‚ especially Siphiwe Tshabalala‚ who has netted in each of the last three games‚ has been a catalyst for that revival.

They will be expected to brush aside a Highlands Park team battling at the wrong end of the table and continue their push for the league championship this season when they clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening.

Chiefs will be without suspended central defender Erick Mathoho‚ while Komphela could hand a first start to Venezuelan forward Gustavo Paez.

Highlands Park were left furious by their 1-1 draw against Polokwane City last time out as they conceded the equaliser in the fifth minute of injury-time.

Chiefs won the reverse fixture this season 1-0 in September thanks to a penalty from George Lebese.

CAPE TOWN CITY VS ORLANDO PIRATES‚ 8.15pm

Orlando Pirates’ agonising season continues with a trip to high-flying Cape Town City on Saturday as they seek to avoid a third straight domestic defeat for the first time since 2009.

This looks to be the last game in charge for caretaker coach Augusto Palacios‚ after he oversaw a run of no wins in their last eight games.

Last weekend’s 6-0 mauling at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns was the last straw for owner Irvin Khoza‚ and although the side tried to lift themselves for the midweek clash with BidVest Wits (a 2-1 loss)‚ they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

The red card for keeper Jackson Mabokgwane‚ coupled with an injury for Brighton Mhlongo‚ has left them short in that department with Siyabonga Mpontshane likely to start. The club have also raced to register Nigerian gloveman Emmanuel Daniel for the game.

City saw a dip in form after their Telkom Knockout trophy win in early December‚ but have started 2017 with back-to-back wins that keeps alive their title hopes this year.

These two sides drew 0-0 when they met in Orlando in September.

SUNDAY

BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC VS CHIPPA UNITED‚ 3.30pm

Bloemfontein Celtic have been in poor form at home this season‚ while Chippa United have been pretty dire on the road so something has to give in this clash at the Petros Molemela Stadium on Sunday.

Celtic have just one win in eight games in front of their own fans‚ a 2-1 success over Baroka FC in November‚ while Chippa have only one away win in seven‚ ironically secured at Baroka FC (4-1) in September.

Since then they have lost five and drawn one of their next six games on the road.

Celtic have started the year with two defeats‚ while Chippa have taken four from a possible six points‚ including a midweek 1-1 draw at home to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Celtic were beaten 1-0 by Sundowns in their first game of 2017‚ though it must be said they were unfortunate.

Chippa are without suspended midfielder Thami Sangweni‚ a blow for them‚ but did win this fixture last season‚ a year ago almost to the day‚ when a 1-0 win was secured via a goal from Rhulani Manzini.

Their home fixture against Celtic earlier this season finished 0-0 in October.

- TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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