Midweek magic in PSL

2012-08-21 15:00

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.

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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) on Wednesday.

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 milestone.

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 away.

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 Chippa United.

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

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing