Absa Premiership

With two to go, it’s do or die

2017-05-14 06:24
NOT GIVING UP: Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is still in the running for the title.(Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - With two games to go, the Absa Premiership teams face a nerve-wracking period as they fight to avoid dropping to the National First Division (NFD).

Teams that fail to reach the 30-point mark, which should ensure their safety, face a tense two final games.

Apart from the title contest between Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns, the real battle is at the bottom.

Wednesday’s penultimate fixtures could determine who goes down.

Victories may save them

Any side among those below position 11 could still be relegated, meaning Platinum Stars – who are on 31 points – are in the clear.

Not so for Bloemfontein Celtic, Free State Stars, Chippa United, Baroka FC and Highlands Park.

All five teams will be playing for survival on Wednesday, knowing that only victories may save them.

Baroka FC host Highlands Park in a do-or-die encounter. Both teams are in danger of making a quick U-turn to the NFD. The victors of this game will not only stand a good chance of retaining their Premiership status, but will also condemn the losing team to the drop.

Another mouth-watering clash that could also have a bearing on relegation will pit Free State teams Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars against each other.

There has not been a dull moment in this championship, and the teams in the relegation zone have made this derby particularly interesting.

Stars got a morale-boosting victory over log leaders Bidvest Wits at home midweek, which somehow relieved the pressure on coach Serame Letsoaka, but they are not out of the woods yet as they need to win their remaining two games to ensure safety.

Celtic will have to be clinical in front of goal. Before their game against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday night, they had scored 15 goals, the lowest in the Premiership.

Closer to title

Chippa United host rejuvenated SuperSport United, who are vying for a top-four finish. The Chilli Boys need to be smokin’ hot if they are to dent their rivals' hopes of finishing in a respectable position. Chippa played 12 games without a win before this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Wits and Sundowns, who are in a neck-and-neck race for the league title, missed the opportunity to create breathing space by dropping crucial points against their respective opponents on Wednesday.

Wits lost 3-1 to Free State Stars, while Sundowns drew 2-2 at home with Baroka. Better results will take them ever closer to the title.

On Wednesday, Wits host Polokwane City at Bidvest Stadium, while Sundowns play Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld.


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Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Maritzburg United v SuperSport United, Harry Gwala Stadium 19:30
Maritzburg United v SuperSport United, Harry Gwala Stadium 19:30
Friday, 19 January 2018
Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Cape Town City FC v Ajax Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Maritzburg United, Goble Park 15:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Platinum Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 18:00
AmaZulu FC v SuperSport United, King Zwelithini Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City, Orlando Stadium 20:15
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The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

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