Cape Town - Marked as it was by notably few fixtures to
truly get pulses racing, the 2012/13 local Premiership season kicked off with a
relative whimper earlier this month.
Latest PSL standings
But the second round of matches, over the course of Tuesday
and Wednesday nights, quickly rectifies that drawback: four of last season’s
top five finishers are up against each other, which ought to provide a slightly
better early yardstick of prospects for the broader season.
Champions Orlando Pirates, who overcame the early setback of
conceding a 19th-minute goal to relative minnows Golden Arrows to
win 2-1 in their opener, tackle third-placed 2011/12 finishers SuperSport
United at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane (19:30, live on SS Blitz and SHD4)
It is an intriguing encounter for at least two reasons, the
first being that it is sandwiched immediately between their two-leg clashes in
the MTN8 semi-finals - the teams are all square on that front after an initial
goalless draw on Sunday.
Secondly, from a league perspective, Pirates are bidding
this season to emulate what Matsatsantsa achieved between 2007/08 and 2009/10 -
a hat-trick of PSL titles.
Since the establishment of the PSL in its modern format in
1996, only Mamelodi Sundowns, in the late Nineties, had previously managed that
SuperSport got off to a moderate start in this campaign,
being held 1-1 away by Ajax Cape Town, and will also be well aware that Pirates
had their measure last season, winning both league meetings including a
particularly clear-cut 3-0 triumph in the Buccaneers’ home fixture.
The other potentially spicy match-up on “Big Wednesday” sees
eternal glamour club Kaizer Chiefs entertain Sundowns at Soccer City (also
19:30, SS4 and SHD2).
Chiefs ended one notch below ‘Downs in fifth last season,
and their fans will be seeking a notable improvement in 2012/13 – their first
step in that quest was certainly a compelling one as they trounced AmaZulu 6-0
The Amakhosi have been tough to gauge in early combat,
however, because they also suffered an ego-denting 4-1 loss to Wednesday’s very
opponents recently, in a MTN8 quarter-final.
At least they have current league bragging rights, courtesy
of last season’s double triumph over the Brazilians.
‘Downs were made to scrap all the way in their own first PSL
outing this season, curtailed to a 1-0 victory by visiting Capetonian rookies
Yes, by late on Wednesday night the new league season may
feel rather more as if the cobwebs have been properly brushed off ...
PSL midweek fixtures:
Tuesday, August 21:
Chippa United v Free State Stars, Athlone Stadium - 19:30
Maritzburg Utd v AmaZulu, Harry Gwala Stadium - 19:30
Wednesday, August 22:
Golden Arrows v University of Pretoria, Cedric Sugar Ray Stadium - 18:00
Bidvest Wits v Black Leopards, Bidvest Stadium - 19:30
Bloem Celtic v Platinum Stars, Free State Stadium - 19:30
SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates, Peter Mokaba Stadium - 19:30
Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns, Soccer City Complex - 19:30
Moroka Swallows v Ajax Cape Town, Volkswagen Dobsonville Stadium - 19:30
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