AfricanFootball previews tonight’s Absa Premiership action

AfricanFootball previews tonight’s Absa Premiership action
Khama Billiat of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Baroka FC on 10 May 2017 at Lucas Moripe Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday May 17, 2017. 12:00

AfricanFootball looks ahead to Round 29 of the Absa Premiership season, which sees eight matches played concurrently around South Africa.

Leaders Bidvest Wits hold a two-point lead over champions Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of their home game against Polokwane City. ‘Downs will host Maritzburg United.

Should Wits claim all three points in Johannesburg and the Brazilians fail to defeat Maritzburg in Tshwane, it will secure a first PSL title for the Clever Boys (and a fourth for their coach Gavin Hunt).

Neither side claimed a win in the previous round of matches, with Wits falling to a 3-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Free State Stars, while Sundowns were held 2-2 by Baroka FC. A case of nerves setting in, or both teams simply drawing breath before the final push for the line?

Aside from the title race, other areas of interest to look out for are the fight to finish in the top half of the table (which secures a place in next season’s MTN8) and the relegation battle.

As far as the latter is concerned, the big game sees bottom-placed Baroka FC host third-last Highlands Park. Just a single point (and second-last Chippa United, who host SuperSport United) separate the teams ahead of what is sure to be tense and fiercely competitive clash in Polokwane.

The match between Chippa and SuperSport serves as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the teams’ Nedbank Cup semifinal this weekend. The latter may well rest players, knowing that they are guaranteed a top-five finish, while the former do not have that luxury with the threat of relegation knocking at their door.

The other semifinalists, Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows, would also love to rest players ahead of their cup clash, but both are fighting to finish in the top eight and will therefore have to play strong teams in their matches against Ajax Cape Town and Cape Town City respectively.

Absa Premiership Round 29 fixtures, May 17
All matches kick-off at 19h30 CAT

Orlando Pirates v Ajax Cape Town
Mamelodi Sundowns v Maritzburg United
Platinum Stars v Kaizer Chiefs
Bloemfontein Celtic v Free State Stars
Bidvest Wits v Polokwane City
Cape Town City v Golden Arrows
Baroka FC v Highlands Park
Chippa United v SuperSport United

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