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Chipezeze shuts out Sundowns – ABSA Premiership

Elvis Chipezeze continued his encouraged form in goal for Baroka FC as they held defending Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a goalless draw at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Tuesday night.

The point moves Bakgaga up to twelfth place on the log standings although Sundowns continue being in third location, 5 points behind Orlando Pirates.

Sundowns threatened early on by Hlompho Kekana in the third minute, but the Brazilians skipper was denied by Chipezeze, who carried on from in which he remaining off on the weekend.

The hosts continued to probe, but found it ever more complicated to defeat Chipezeze, who made a further superior save in the thirty fifth minute to deny Jeremy Brockie, whose rasping effort looked destined for the back again of the net.

Baroka almost hit the front against the run of play on the cusp of half-time. Jemondre Dickens carved by the Sundowns defence just before attempting a square ball to an unmarked Tebogo Sodi, but Maboe presented a well timed interception to deny the people the direct at the crack.

Chipezeze was proving a complicated to defeat once more and pulled off a further fantastic save 5 minutes into the second-50 percent to preserve out Brockie’s arrowing header.

Baroka experienced a late chance to steal all a few points in included time, but Mduduzi Mdantsane was desperately unfortunate to see his glancing header fly inches wide of goal, as both of those sides sooner or later settled for a point apiece.

Mamelodi Sundowns
Baroka FC

Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene Morena, Arendse, Madisha, Lakay, Kekana, Jali (90+2′), Maboe, Ngoma (Mahlambi 55′), Sirino (Silva 80′), Brockie.
Baroka FC: Chipezeze Semenya, Sibiya, Banda, Gebhardt, Makgaka (Kgaswane 89′), Mdantsane, Mosele, Chawaphiwa (Kgoetyane 66′), Sodi, Dickens (Makgantai 79′).

ASBA Live Scores

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Morata double sends Chelsea into 2nd place

Alvaro Morata scored two times to acquire unbeaten Chelsea above Liverpool into 2nd place in the Premier League behind Manchester City on Sunday, but Maurizio Sarri’s men made challenging of seeing off Crystal Palace 3-1.

Morata has now scored four in his very last four Leading League games after just two goals in his preceding 20 domestic matches, and his return to variety could be the ultimate component Sarri’s facet need to have to mount a significant title problem.

The previous Real Madrid player gave Chelsea a barely deserved half-time lead from an uninspired 1st 45 minutes.

However, Andros Townsend’s equaliser and the introduction of Eden Hazard from the bench woke Chelsea from their slumber after the split and Morata restored the hosts’ lead just before Pedro Rodriguez sealed the 3 points.

Hazard was only in good shape sufficient for a place on the bench on his return from a back harm and his innovative spark was terribly missed as Chelsea laboured against a properly-organised Palace, who also presented a risk on the counter-attack through Wilfried Zaha.

It was Max Meyer who had the visitors’ ideal chance, but the German international, who is still searching for his 1st Palace goal since a summertime go from Schalke, fired around when properly-put on the edge of the area.

Chelsea took around 50 % an hour to produce anything at all of be aware, but Morata took the 1st chance to appear his way.

The Spanish international confirmed a self-confidence that has been sorely lacking for the bulk of his Chelsea vocation by deftly managing Pedro’s cross just before drilling the ball low earlier Wayne Hennessey.

Chelsea could have had a 2nd times later when Willian blasted home a further deflected Pedro effort and hard work, but the Brazilian was harshly adjudged to be offside.

Sarri is now unbeaten in his 1st sixteen aggressive games as Chelsea manager, but will know there is still a good deal of space for enhancement as a sleepy get started to the 2nd-50 % was punished in the 53rd minute.

David Luiz was caught ball viewing and Townsend played a rapid a person-two with James McArthur just before firing low earlier Kepa Arrizalabaga.

Hennessey did properly to parry a highly effective Luiz header as the Brazilian tried to make amends for his error.

However, it wasn’t until Sarri summoned Hazard and Mateo Kovacic from the bench in the sixty fourth minute that Chelsea took command.

Hazard’s 1st involvement was to be chopped down halfway inside of the Palace 50 %, and his free-kick found a way through to Morata, who arrowed a shot into the far corner.

5 minutes later Chelsea had breathing space as Morata yet again did properly to leave Marcos Alonso’s cross for the onrushing Pedro to slot home.

Morata had the probability to comprehensive a wonderful show when place cleanse through by Hazard in stoppage time, but unsuccessful to fool Hennessey with his attempted chip.

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Baroka undergo third straight loss at Athlone – ABSA Premiership 2017/eighteen

Baroka endured a 1- loss at the arms of Ajax Cape Town in an Absa Premiership match on Wednesday evening at Athlone Stadium.

In the wake of the loss, coach MacDonald Makhubedu’s men go to the 10th location on the log standings with 33 points from 28 league games.

A late goal by means of skipper Mosa Lebusa ensured the Urban Warriors handed Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele their third loss in a row.

It was a fast-paced start out by the two sides, but the most effective option fell for the hosts when Yannick Zakri saw his header punched away for a corner by Ayanda Dlamini in the 11th minute.

Baroka experienced an upper hand in terms of assaults just after the 30th minute and Mpho Kgaswane saw his set-piece sailing more than the crossbar with the hosts’ defence failing to offer with a few successive corner kicks.

With additional action going on in the coronary heart of the park, Zakri experienced a free of charge header in the fortieth minute, however, could not immediate it on concentrate on.

Irrespective of the feeling of urgency from the hosts, they could not break the sound travelling to defence as it remained goalless at 50 percent time.

Ajax came again from the tunnel with starvation as they and substitute Samuel Julies practically made a rapid impression when he compelled a high-quality save from Dlamini.

Immediately after the sixty-fifth minute, Zakri brilliantly played a cross with a header in research of Julies and the substitute’s effort and hard work was punched more than the crossbar by Dlamini for a corner.

Ajax gave Bakgaga ba Mphahlele also considerably house and Talent Chawapiwa attempted a curling shot in the 79th minute, but could not difficulties February.

With 9 minutes to go, substitute Sergio Kammies would find himself in the penalty area, he beat his marker but saw his reduced shot going extensive.

The Ajax bench could not consider it when Zakri missed another superb prospect on the still left post when he experienced all the time to decide on his location, his effort and hard work went extensively in the 86th minute.

Ajax ongoing to pile tension on the Limpopo side and it was Lebusa who found the again of the in the 91st minute from a telling cross from the right pursuing a poor managing by Dlamini.

The second win for the hosts at home sees them transferring up to the 14th location with 31 points from 28 games.

Ajax Cape Town () 1 (Lebusa 90+1’)
Baroka FC

Ajax Cape Town: February, Zwane, Nhlapo (Julies 59’), Booysen, Lebusa, Nel (Kammies 78’), Malepe (Losper 46’), Margeman, Kabwe, Morris, Zakri

Baroka FC: Dlamini, Kgoetyane, Mothupa, Madubanya, Nguzana (Soso 78’), Chawapiwa (Mahashe 90’), Kgaswane, Mabotja, Mdantsane, Makgaka (Mosele 59’), Banda

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We found a way to change a bit after the team meeting – Mustafi

We found a way to change a bit after the team meeting – Mustafi

Arsenal defender, Shkodran Mustafi has stated that the meeting that the players decided to hold after a series of consecutive defeats was instrumental in bringing some positivity and belief back into the squad.

The Gunners had a miserable time in February as they suffered three consecutive defeats in the League and were also badly beaten by Manchester City in the EFL Cup final. The fall-apart was unsurprising though as Wenger’s team has been known to lose momentum in February in recent campaigns.

It seems they have now found form again as they defeated Italian giant, AC Milan over two legs in the Europa League last 16 before beating Watford 3-0 in the league.

“Everyone knew it was a difficult period,” Mustafi said. “The meeting was about trying to listen to different opinions, different ideas, and different feelings, and I think we found a way to try to change a bit.

“It’s not that easy because one meeting is not going to change a lot, especially not during the season when you’re playing every three days, but it was important to speak our opinions out loud. Overall it was about giving 110% to try to get out of it, and I think we managed it well.”

The Gunners are in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and are positioned sixth on the League table, 13 points off the top-four spot.

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It’s been a great opportunity to learn from van Dijk – Gomez

It’s been a great opportunity to learn from van Dijk – Gomez

Liverpool defender, Joe Gomez has stated that it is a great opportunity for him to learn from a disciplined defender like Virgil van Dijk and he is quite fulfilled to have him train with him as he believes he is no obstacle to his development.

Van Dijk has become a regular member of Jurgen Klopp squad since he completed his world-record £75m move to Liverpool in January, further increasing the competition in Gomez’s preferred position of center-back.

The 20-year-old has played the majority of his football as a full-back so far this season but states that he is taking the full advantage of the privilege to learn from Van Dijk ahead of his eventual expected move into the middle.

He said: “I didn’t see it as blocking my path or anything like that. It’s a great opportunity to learn from him.”

“I am not overly stressing about it or paranoid about other people coming in. It’s great to be in environments where I can learn from players like that. I am just trying to soak it all up and be the best sponge I can be.

“I think he has a great presence, everyone sees that. He is very dominant in the way he plays and his body language shows that he has quality on the ball.”

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Didier Drogba: Jose Mourinho admires Paul Pogba a lot

Didier Drogba: Jose Mourinho admires Paul Pogba a lot

Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba has stated that the tensioned relationship that seems to exist between United manager, Jose Mourinho, and star player, Paul Pogba is because the Portuguese tactician believes so much in the French midfielder’s talent and is quite keen on his development.

The Man United pair has been consistent in newspapers’ headlines in recent weeks as many believe that Mourinho isn’t happy with Pogba’s display lately which has led to him being dropped from the starting X1 a number of times now.

His national team boss, Didier Deschamps admits that the former Juventus player cannot be happy with his situation at Old Trafford, with Scott McTominay having been preferred by Mourinho in recent games.

Drogba, who played a significant role in Mourinho’s outstanding Chelsea side of 2004/2005, spoke to Telefoot about his ex-manager’s behavior and played down any suggestion that the two are not getting along.

“It’s been hot between us [Drogba and Mourinho],” the Ivorian said. “But Jose is never going to attack people he does not like.

“He likes Paul a lot. That’s why he’s given him a lot of responsibilities.”

The 25-year old has featured in 27 games for United this season, scoring three goals and providing 10 assists.

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Harry Kane is the best player on the planet

Harry Kane is the best player on the planet

Tottenham forward, Harry Kane though injured at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped him from receiving praises from different quarters.

The England International is the second leading goal scorer in the Premier League this season with 24 strikes but it’s unlikely he will win a third-straight Golden Boot after Liverpool star, Mohamed Salah scored four against Watford to take his personal tally to 28.

However, the 24-year old performance this season has been instrumental for Spurs push for a top-four finish and their hopes of winning the FA Cup after securing qualification for the semifinals with their win over Swansea in the last-eight last weekend.

While speaking with Sky Sports News HQ after South Korea’s 2-1 defeat at Northern Ireland in a friendly on Saturday, his club partner, Heung-Min Son believes that Kane is the best player on the planet right now.

“Harry Kane is, of course, very important for England because he’s the best player in the world,” Son said. “This is football, so sometimes you get injuries, but as Tottenham, we need to play without Harry.”

Also, defender, Jan Vertonghen insists that his club partner is an all-round top striker and hopes that Belgium won’t have to depend on their clash with England in their World Cup group game to qualify.

“For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability,” Vertonghen said. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. Hopefully, England and us would have already qualified (by June 28) and he gets a rest.”

Tottenham will hope to have their key-man back in time for their FA Cup semifinal clash against Manchester United on April 21st in Wembley.

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Arsene Wenger’s treatment has been disrespectful – Crouch

Arsene Wenger’s treatment has been disrespectful – Crouch

Former Liverpool forward, Peter Crouch has described the treatment of Arsenal Manager by some fans aftermath of their embarrassing double loss to Manchester City as disrespectful.
The 37-year old believes that the long-serving Arsenal legend deserves to be treated with more respect. He confirmed that it is true that the club hasn’t performed spectacularly in recent seasons but that notwithstanding does not erase the greatness that Wenger has achieved with the club.
The criticism of the French tactician reached an all-time high this week after the club suffered two consecutive defeat to Pep Guardiola’s City. They first lost the Carabao trophy on Sunday as they were well beaten 3-0 before suffering another 3-0 defeat in the Premier League at the Emirates stadium on Thursday.

The fans are vociferously calling for the Manager’s sack but Crouch think otherwise. He wrote on his Daily Mail column: “The day Wenger leaves Arsenal, the only word you will hear said about him is ‘legend.”
“The supporters will want to talk about those early years, how he became a legendary figure. the only arguments will be about which end of the stadium his statue goes.”
“Some of the treatment he has received has been very disrespectful. He has won the FA Cup three times in four years but that isn’t enough for some people. How can that be? At the vast majority of other clubs, you would be viewed as the greatest team in history if you did the same.”
“It’s not for me to say whether he should stay or go but what I can see is the fact he is not addressing the problems we have all known about for years. They say a team is a reflection of its manager and right now it doesn’t look good for Wenger.”

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Everton welcomes back Funes Mori

Everton welcomes back Funes Mori

Everton FC has welcomed back defender, Ramiro Funes Mori from a long-term injury lay-off after recovering from an awful knee injury he suffered last season.

The Argentina International, who tore his meniscus during an international break with his country has been out of action since April last year. However, it was a jubilating atmosphere around the Goodison Park as the club fans were glad to see the defender play for 45 minutes in Everton’s U23 4-0 loss to Arsenal this week.

At the post-match conference where he spoke with Liverpool Echo, he stated that he is really happy to be back on the pitch after a long absence, he feels good and he looks forward to returning into the first team as soon as possible.

The Toffees’ Premier League game against Crystal Palace this weekend may be too early for him, but just in the same way fellow-defender, Seamus Coleman who recently returned from a similar long injury lay-off featured for the U23 side for only 58 minutes and made an appearance the following Premier League matchday in Everton’s 2-1 victory over Leicester, Mori can only be hopeful of a possible return this weekend too.

He continued that he would stay motivated as a result of what he saw Coleman do and will only keep working hard to get back into a great shape although he acknowledged that the decision to get some first-team football action soon enough lies exclusively with the Manager, Sam Allardyce.

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Rashford situation will get more complicated with Alexis signing – Giggs

Rashford situation will get more complicated with Alexis signing – Giggs

Manchester United Legend, Ryan Giggs has stated that England sensation, Marcus Rashford will get even lesser game time as a result of Alexis Sanchez signing from Arsenal.

He believes that in Mourinho’s United squad, Romelu Lukaku is the main-man upfront and with the acquisition of the Chilean who will almost definitely command a starting position in the squad, he doubted if Rashford’s development will not be hampered.

He went on to take side with the club fans after they were criticized by Mourinho last week that they needed to get louder during games although he was quite conservative in the use of words.

While speaking with Sky Sports, the 44-year old said: “The main problem for Rashford is his best position is as a striker and it doesn’t look as though he’s going to get in ahead of Lukaku. The situation looks quite complicated.”

“He was very good in that position against Yeovil but ultimately he’s not going to get as many goals over a season as Lukaku.

“However, I can’t see Rashford looking at his future at the moment. He’ll get enough games across the four competitions, but the issues are when he isn’t involved in the big games.

“When I first came into the team there were two places for three players – me, Lee Sharpe and Andrey Kanchelskis.

“So, I was just thinking that when I get minutes I have to prove myself.”

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Manchester United get greenlight for Benzema

Manchester United get greenlight over La Liga star

Manchester United has been contacted by La Liga Champions, Real Madrid over a likely deal to take Karim Benzema to Old Trafford in a likely £53.2million deal in the summer.

The former Lyon striker has been a consistent goal poacher for the past few seasons in Europe and since he completed his move from his boyhood club, Lyon to the Spanish capital way back in 2009, he has scored 187 goals alongside 108 assists since then to win three Champions League title, two Spanish League title amongst other local titles.

However, he’s struggled for form this season as the 30-year old striker has only 2 goals to his name so far and reports are emanating that the European Champions might just decide to replace the forward with a younger addition and cash in on him.

According to speculations from TeamTalkare, it was categorically stated that Real Madrid has been in talks with the Manchester club over a possible transfer that involves the French forward.

The Spanish News Agency reported that Madrid president, Florentino Perez met with United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to discuss the transfer of Benzema to England in a £53.2m deal

It is believed that this will help Los Blancos land their major target for many transfer windows David De Gea as soon as the window opens again at the end of the season, however it is unclear if United will be interested in listening to such offers.

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Salah will reach the 100 Premier League goal milestone

Salah will reach the 100 Premier League goal milestone – Mido

Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah has been a great delight to the Anfield fans this season as he has hit the ground running in a fascinating fashion after his summer transfer from Roma.’

The Egyptian has surpassed the highest number of goals scored by an Egyptian in the Premier League after notching two goals in the Reds 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Mido, a former striker for Middlesbrough and Tottenham previously held the record with 22 goals, the former forward now believes Salah will go on to become a centurion in the League.

The former Chelsea forward now has a total of 23 Premier League efforts with his two goals scored in a difficult spell at Stamford Bridge added to his 21 goals for Liverpool this season.

Salah is expected to get even better as he is approaching his crucial age as a footballer fast. Mido expects him to set a high bar for Egyptians in the Premier League if he can keep his great form.

While speaking with BBC Sports, Mido said: “I felt proud after Salah reached my number of goals, and I think he can reach 100 goals easily.”

“He had a difficult spell at the Bridge after been denied an opportunity to display his brilliance. His talent was made visible for all to see in Italy during his time at Fiorentina and Roma”

“Salah is in top form, he is strong and fast I’m sure he will score more goals and break more records in the English Premier League,” he added.

“Now he is playing with a very big side, and I want him to focus more and more with the Reds so that he can make history.”

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Mkhitaryan will succeed at Arsenal – Rooney

Mkhitaryan will succeed at Arsenal – Rooney

Manchester United legend, Wayne Rooney has stated that he expects new Arsenal signing, Henrikh Mkhitaryan to become an instant success for the Gunners after sealing a move away from the Old Trafford this January with Alexis Sanchez going in the opposite direction.

The former Borussia Dortmund star had a great evening on Saturday in a scintillating display for the Gunners in their 5-1 dismantling of Rooney’s Everton.

The Gunners shattered the Toffees in a beautiful attacking display that could have produced even more goals. The Armenian International never lived up to the expectation that was projected of him in United and the former United Captain agrees that his former club doesn’t suit the player’s style of play.

Rooney remarked that an offensive team set-up in Wenger’s Arsenal will mean that Mkhitaryan will play with the attacking instinct and freedom he enjoyed in his best form he displayed in Dortmund.

While speaking with Metro, the England legend said: “I think he is better suited to Arsenal,”

“I saw it in training with him, he’s a very talented player. At United, he didn’t get the freedom he really wanted to perform like he had at Dortmund.”

“It was a different style and at Arsenal, he’ll have players around him. He’ll create goals, he’ll score goals and I think he’ll kick on.”

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Renato Sanches suffers another injury setback

Renato Sanches suffers another injury setback

Portuguese midfielder, Renato Sanches who currently plays for Swansea City in the Premier League as a result of a loan move from his parent club Bayern Munich has suffered another injury setback as he is expected to be unavailable for another five weeks.

The 20-year has struggled to maintain fitness this season as he has only featured in less than 700 minutes of League action due to reoccurring injury problems. He was replaced in the club’s 1-1 draw with Notts County in the FA Cup 4th round as he was unavailable for the 3-1 victory over Arsenal and their 1-1 draw at Leicester last weekend.

Club Manager, Carlos Cavalhal has confirmed that the Euro 2016 prospect will not be included in the squad for the FA Cup replay with Notts County and might not be available for selection again until mid- March.

While speaking in a pre-match conference, the Manager said: “Renato will recover in about four or five weeks, I don’t know and he can have an impact until the end of the season,”

“It’s Leon [Britton] and Angel [Rangel], they have been training but with limitations so we are assessing them. We have no problems other than the situations of Renato, Fer, and Bony.

“When one Swan falls it is a chance for another Swan to fly. It is true, it gives a chance for someone else to fly.

“[Fer and Bony] cannot play this season. Fer was doing well and Bony was growing game by game”. The Manager concluded

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I would pay the biggest fine in World Football if I comment – Klopp

I would pay the biggest fine in World Football if I comment – Klopp

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated with the officiating of the high tensioned clash between his side and Tottenham Hotspurs as they were made to drop points as a result of a last-kick penalty which was converted by Harry Kane for his 100th Premier League goal.

The obviously furious German tactician stated that he would be made to pay the biggest fine in World football if he makes an honest remark about the performance of the referee, Jon Moss after awarding two controversial penalties to Tottenham.

Kane missed the first penalty but was calm to score the second in the last minute of the encounter after Muhammed Salah had given Liverpool the lead few minutes earlier to force the game to a 2-2 draw.

The former Dortmund boss believed that the two penalties shouldn’t have stood as Kane was offside for the first and Lamela going down under van Dijk’s challenge was absolutely laughable.

He said: “Obviously I can’t change anything so what’s my job now? To create headlines? To be punished? To pay a fine?

“If I say what I think, I would pay the biggest fine in world football. That makes absolutely no sense.

“I have no problem with people making mistakes but if you don’t see the situation, then step aside.

“I thought for the first penalty they (Moss and his assistant) were discussing. I didn’t see Jon Moss asking anything.

“At the end, I’ve learned something new and now people will think I know nothing about football because I thought it was offside.

“But the second one, it’s not about who is where. In the 93rd minute, you whistle a penalty when you are 100 percent sure.

“It’s clear in these situations the opposition wants to go down, wants to cause these type of problems, but we have to accept it, I can’t change it. But it’s really hard to get.”

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Kane is one of the best strikers ever in the Premier League

Kane is one of the best strikers ever in the Premier League – Pochettino

Spurs Manager, Mauricio Pochettino was full of praises for his in-form striker, Harry Kane who notched his 100th Premier League goal in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

The England International stepped up to score from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game after previously missing from the spot a few moments earlier to seal his place in history among the League’s very best in front of goal.

His Manager, Pochettino was quick to praise the consistent forward for the newly achieved feat: “He’s one of the best strikers. He can miss a penalty or a chance but he has the personality.”

“To score 100 Premier League goals, it is because you have big, big balls. It is no easy feat, it can only be achieved by the best of bests.”

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp has earlier commented about the game’s officiating which he believed to be below par especially after two penalties were given against his side. However, Pochettino claimed that the referee has a really good game.

“I congratulated him, to show the character that they (officials) showed in this moment,” he added.

“It was difficult to know if they were right at this moment and then in the dressing room I confirmed they were right in every single decision.

“Sometimes you complain about them, me no because I decided a long time ago to stop complaining about referees.

“But when they are right and show character, I think it is important to recognize and congratulate them because they have a difficult job.”

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Moyes brush aside off-field occurrence in Brighton Loss

Moyes brush aside off-field occurrence in Brighton Loss

West Ham United Boss, David Moyes has stated that the internal occurrences within the London club are not a factor in their recent loss to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The Hammers who has witnessed an upsurge in form since the appointment of the former Everton Manager suffered a shocking 3-1 defeat to Brighton last weekend and reports emanated that the recent sack of the club’s director of Player recruitment could have been responsible.

Tony Henry, who previously has eld the highly revered position in the club hierarchy was fired after claims that he was linked with racism. He was believed to have mentioned that the club will restrict the number of African players they bring into the squad as a result of their despicable attitude and poor orientation based on a report.

When the Manager was questioned about the influence of such reports on the squad, Moyes said: “It had no effect whatsoever. The club has done what they think they have to do and move on, and we have to. It’s always the manager’s job but I don’t think the events would have any serious influence.”

West Ham defender, Arthur Masuaku has been previously banned for six games after he was caught spitting on an opponent in the Hammer’s FA Cup loss to Wigan Athletic last week before the recent Henry sack. “Maybe that’s just West Ham, I don’t know,” Moyes added.

“In management, no day is ever dull. The job brings up some difficult situations and some strange ones.” The loss to Brighton left West Ham in 12th on 27 points with just three points above the relegation zone in a very tight bottom half of the table.

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Van Dijk won’t solve Liverpool’s defensive crisis – Hamann

Van Dijk won’t solve Liverpool’s defense

Former Liverpool midfielder, Dietmar Hamann has stated that even assigning top-rated defender, Virgil van Dijk was a good show of intention for the Reds, he believes the former Southampton man [van Dijk] alone won’t solve Liverpool defensive challenges.

Liverpool brought the defender to Anfield in the just concluded transfer window after shattering the transfer record for a defender as they paid over £75million for van Dijk in a bid to bring an end to their worries at the back.

And even as the former player admits that he is a good signing, he added that about one or two more defensive signings are still required to compete.

“The backline has been an issue for a long time,” he told Omnisport.

“I think Van Dijk will improve them, I think he brings pace and a physical presence to the team but I think they lack a holding midfielder.

“I believe a holding midfielder has been absent for a while now so unless they bring in someone who really protects the back four, I think Van Dijk will improve them but not as much as I think they need to be improved to really solve the crisis completely and challenge for titles on a consistent basis.”

Hamann featured in 283 matches for Liverpool, winning two FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League in the process, however, a holding midfielder in the likeness of the combative German is obviously absent in the Red’s squad.

Klopp has club captain, Jordan Henderson, and Emre Can in his defensive midfield but Hamman thinks Henderson displays excellence in some games but he believes compatriot, Emre Can is far from it and the club shouldn’t be so bothered about his contract situation as the midfielder is in the last six months of his contract.

He added: “I would like to see him at Liverpool still next season but at the same time Liverpool gave him the opportunity to play in a very good team and if he were to go, yes he’d be a loss in a way but I wouldn’t be held to ransom by a player who has performed OK, because OK for Liverpool is not good enough.”

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South African champions Bidvest Wits want Cameroonian striker Epoupa – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits ©Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Dec 02, 2017. 13:00


South African side Bidvest Wits are said to have shown interest in Christian Epoupa.

The Cameroonian striker is currently on the books of Dynamos, who are campaigning in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League (ZPSL).

The highly-rated player has been linked with South African club Ajax Cape Town in the past.

Wits and another South African side Polokwane City are also believed to be keen to sign the attacker.

Dynamos chairman Keni Mubaiwa has been quoted as confirming talks for the forward with clubs in South Africa.

“A number of clubs from South Africa have made contact with Christian,” he told News Day.

“Some were here in the past few days for negotiations and others have been talking to us on the phone.

“We have not agreed with anyone because of the price. We have put our value on the player, which the teams are saying they cannot meet,” he continued.

“The good thing on our part is that we are not desperate to sell, so we will try to get the full value of what we think our player is worth.

Epoupa scored 12 goals in the ZPSL this past season.



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Bernard Parker not happy despite reaching milestone – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Kaizer Chiefs


Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates goal during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa on 17 October 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Bertin Basson

Friday Dec 01, 2017. 11:00


Kaizer Chiefs forward Bernard Parker isn’t entirely satisfied despite having reached a milestone of 50 goals for Kaizer Chiefs.

The former FC Twente forward hit the half-century mark in a 1-1 draw against Free State Stars last weekend, but instead of celebrating the achievement, the 31-year-old explained that he is frustrated it took him so long to reach the mark.

“I have achieved something great. It’s a good achievement, although I am not entirely happy because with my standards and quality I would have wanted to have reached this milestone earlier,” Parker told his club’s website.

“I am now in my seventh season at Chiefs. To score 50 goals is great, but it’s not enough, especially when looking at what is the going rate of scoring in Europe, as that’s the top level and that’s where the standard is set.”

The Amakhosi have scored but 11 goals in 12 matches in what has been a largely disappointing and uneventful Absa Premiership campaign.



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Groin injury rules Alexandre Lacazette out against Manchester United


Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette will miss the weekend Premier League clash with Manchester United after hobbling out of the 5-0 win over Huddersfield at the Emirates Stadium.

The France international grabbed the early opener, only to trudge off at half-time, with a groin problem and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed Lacazette has been ruled out against the Red Devils.

Wenger said: “Lacazette has a groin problem and will be out certainly for Saturday’s game.”

Meanwhile, Wenger says Mesut Ozil has shown new-found “fight” to steer Arsenal to successive wins over Tottenham and Huddersfield.

Ozil remains linked to a move away from Arsenal at the end of the season, but Wenger continues to prefer to focus on the Germany playmaker’s on-field credentials.

Olivier Giroud bagged a brace, while Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez and Ozil all found the net too as Arsenal powered to victory.

“Nobody has to convince us he’s a great football player,” said Wenger, of Ozil.

“Everybody knows in the stadium he’s a great football player, but at the moment as well he shows he can fight.

“Our job is to encourage people to fight, but I think he always covered the distances in games, but he’s at an age where he’s more mature and understands what is more important and what is less important.

“Everybody wants to be acknowledged for his quality, and the judgements are sometimes harsh in a footballer’s job.

“But overall I believe the majority of people here love him, and always loved him.

“When you look at the percentage of possession during a game, no matter what the game is, he always wants the ball. He never hides, he’s always available.

“If you are dominated you touch the ball less, but when you win the ball, he always wants the ball.”

Huddersfield had posed plenty of problems for Arsenal in a battling first-half, only to slip to a hefty defeat once the Gunners had grabbed their second goal through Giroud.

Manager David Wagner insisted he remains confident that his side can consolidate their Premier League status, despite their sizeable loss in London.

“We are strong enough to leave these two defeats behind us very quickly, because we know what we’ve done wrong and what we need to solve,” said Wagner.

“I’m very confident we can stay in the division, with everything we’ve done and what I’ve seen in the 14 games so far.

“If we are strong enough mentality and can keep our key players healthy.

“If you’ve seen Arsenal’s squad next to ours on the back of the programme, it’s clear we have to keep our key players healthy.

“And if we do that I’m very confident we have every chance to stay up.”

Source: PA





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Urban Warriors suffer narrow defeat to SuperSport – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Aubrey Modiba of Supersport United celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Supersport United and Ajax Cape Town at Mbombela Stadium, Mpumalanga South Africa on 29 November 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Bertin Basson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 22:08


SuperSport United held on to beat Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Wednesday evening.

It was a game of two halves, with the Urban Warriors a different unit following a first half dominated by Matsatsantsa. Stanley Menzo’s troops, though, failed to turn dominance into goals as they slumped to defeat in the Mpumalanga province.

Following a rather cagey opening to the encounter, Matsatsantsa hit the front through Aubrey Modiba in the 25th minute.

Richard Kissi Boateng the provider with the fullback’s curling cross expertly met by Modiba who lost his marker before nodding home from close range – Jody February with no chance.

The Urban Warriors shot-stopper was called into action to keep out Fagrie Lakay’s long range shot soon after, before getting down well to deny former Ajax Cape Town striker Bradley Grobler.

The forward’s rasping effort from the edge of the area looked destined for the back of the net, but February was up to the task.

Matsatsantsa 1-0 up at the interval and deservedly so.

The Urban Warriors came out firing following the break and were unlucky not to draw level in the 56th minute through Mosa Lebusa.

The Ajax Cape Town captain took it upon himself to lead his chargers in attack, but Reyaad Pieterse denied the fullback from close range.

Tashreeq Morris then saw his powerful effort saved by the SuperSport goal-minder as the Urban Warriors looked sure to get something out of the clash.

But, despite an improved showing in the second stanza, the visitors were unable to conjure a goal as SuperSport held on for all three points. Victory moves the hosts up to 10th spot – Ajax Cape Town remain in 14th place on the log standings.

SuperSport United (1) 1 (Modiba 25′)

Ajax Cape Town (0) 0

SuperSport United: Pieterse; Kekana, Gould, Egwuekwe, Boateng – Furman, Letsholonyane (Mashamaite 90+1′), Modiba – Lakay (Mbule 60′), Phala, Grobler (Brockie 79′).

Ajax Cape Town: February; Lebusa, Booysen, Nhlapo, Evans (Sasman 71′) – Pietersen, Margeman, Mzwakali (Losper 85′) – Mosadi, Phohlongo (George 41′), Morris.



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South Africa’s Gavin Hunt condemns Telkom KO final venue – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Head Coach Gavin Hunt of Bidvest Wits during 2017 Telkom Knockout Bidvest Wits Training at Stir rock Park in Braamfontein South Africa on 28 November 2017 © Aubrey Kgakatsi /BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 19:30


Ahead of the South African Telkom Knockout final against Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has lambasted the quality of the pitch at Princess Magogo Stadium.

The Clever Boys mentor believes the pitch is not in tip top quality, but hopes the weather will be suitable for a good game of football.

Hunt revealed that they sent a team representatives to inspect the pitch at the KwaMashu Stadium this week.

“Shew‚ shew‚ shew. Listen‚ it is what it is. We’ve got to concentrate on the rules and play football,” said the coach.

“But it is a bit‚ it is a bit…you know. It threw everybody a curve ball‚ didn’t it? It was like‚ ‘Yuh‚ OK’.

“The pitch has been dug up last week because there were teams training on it in the rain. So the pitch is not great.

“We saw it, we went there yesterday to have a look at it – it’s an open area. So please God the weather is good.”

The 12000-seater venue will host a major cup final for the first time on Saturday at 18:00 (CAT).



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Reneilwe Letsholonyane: Time for SuperSport to change focus – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – SuperSport Utd


Club Africain player Ibrahim Chenihi (R) fights for the ball with Supersport United FC player Reneilwe Letsholonyane (L) during the semi-final return 2017 CAF Confederations Cup game between Club Africain and Supersport United FC in Tunis, Tunisia on 22 October 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 15:30


SuperSport United midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane says his side must move on from their CAF Confederation Cup final defeat.

The Tshwane side were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by DR Congo giants TP Mazembe across the past two weekends, in their first continental cup final.

And they have had little time to reflect on the defeat, as this evening they begin the process of catching up missed games in the Absa Premiership.

United will host Ajax Cape Town at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit and ‘Yeye’ believes they must switch focus quickly to the challenges which lie ahead of them in the domestic competition.

“We’ve recovered because we know that this game is important and the weekend chapter we have closed it,” said Letsholonyane, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“We are looking forward to the new one which is competing in the league.”

Ajax have struggled to find top gear this season, but the United midfielder is wary of underestimating them.

“They are definitely a threat because they have not been doing well and getting the results they want.

“But we know that on any given day they can upset any team, so we know that they are not a bad team. It is just they are not getting good results.

“We will be cautious and hope that we do well on the day to get maximum points at the end of the day.

“We take this game as another game that we play. It’s not really about bouncing back or anything. It’s about competing and winning the game.”



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SuperSport’s Clayton Daniels: We should be proud of CAF campaign – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Clayton Daniels of Supersport United challenged by Louis Amake Autchanga of CF Mounana during the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup match between Supersport United and CF Mounana at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville South Africa on 08 July 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 21:00


SuperSport United defender Clayton Daniels believes his team should be proud of their CAF Confederation Cup campaign despite losing to TP Mazembe in the final.

United ended runners-up in the continental competition after losing 2-1 on aggregate to the DR Congo giants, who defended the trophy they won in 2016.

With their long African campaign now at an end, Daniels believes Matsatsantsa should turn their attention to trying to win South Africa’s top flight league.

“Well we are also proud we could make it that far [in the Confed Cup],” Daniels told Kick-Off.

“We should take out all the positive out of our journey in Africa which is never easy, travelling for days back and forth, sacrificing a lot away from the family.

“But we grew stronger as a team as time went, so we are looking forward now to the league because that’s our next objective.

“We gave it our best in both games [both legs of the final]. The performance was there, the effort was there, the fight was there… not one player didn’t give it their all and we are proud as a team.”

United will begin the process of catching up missed games in the Absa premiership when they host Ajax Cape Town in Nelspruit on Wednesday evening.



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Zambian Justin Shonga eyeing CAF Champions League spot with South African giants – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Orlando Pirates


Justin Shonga of Orlando Pirates challenged by Sammy Seabi of Polokwane City

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 15:00


Zambia and Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga believes the Soweto giants must ensure they finish at the top during this current Premier Soccer League campaign in South Africa.

The Chipolopolo hitman says they must do well this season and ensure they qualify for the CAF Champions League.

Coach Milutin Sredojevic are now sitting at number two in the Absa Premiership and will hope to challenge for the league honours.

“My priority is the team because I believe there is much more that the team can do. Recently, things have not been going well and things should not be this way,” Shonga told Soccer Laduma.

“I watched the team last season and it was not good to see them performing that way.

“This season it must be different because a team like Pirates needs to be playing in the CAF Champions League and finishing in a good position on the log standings.

“It is unacceptable for a great team like this not to win anything.”



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Absa Premiership weekend wrap: Pirates only winners, Baroka continue to lead


Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates and Aphiwe Lubisi of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates at Dr Molemela Stadium, Bloemfontein on 26 November 2017 © Frikke Kapp/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 09:30


The weekend’s Absa Premiership action produced just one winner, while Baroka FC continue to be the surprise leaders of the top flight despite going five matches without a win.

The only team to claim a win through the weekend was Orlando Pirates, who defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 away on Sunday thanks to a goal from former Phunya Sele Sele midfielder Musa Nyatama, and the result took the Buccaneers to second place on the log.

They trail Baroka FC by just one point after the Limpopo side was twice forced to come from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Platinum Stars. Bakgaga haven’t won since late September but continue to top the standings, while Dikwena have put together a five-match unbeaten run but remain second-last.

Saturday’s afternoon games saw two goalless stalemates, as Chippa United held Mamelodi Sundowns in Port Elizabeth and Maritzburg United did the same to champions Bidvest Wits in KwaZulu-Natal.

The early evening game saw Chiefs finally break their goal drought as they fought back to hold Free State Stars 1-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium, with Bernard Parker’s equaliser cancelling out a strike from Nhlanhla Vilakazi which deflected off Daniel Cardoso.

The night games produced much more excitement and featured two strong comebacks: in Durban, Cape Town City fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Golden Arrows, while AmaZulu completed the same feat in their match away to Ajax Cape Town, with former Urban Warriors favourite Mabhuti Khenyeza netting the vital equaliser deep into injury time.

The Absa Premiership will resume with a catch-up game for SuperSport United on Wednesday 29 November, when they will host Ajax at Mbombela Stadium.

Absa Premiership weekend results

Saturday 25 November

Chippa United 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns

Maritzburg United 0-0 Bidvest Wits

Kaizer Chiefs 1-1 Free State Stars

Golden Arrows 2-2 Cape Town City

Ajax Cape Town 2-2 AmaZulu

Sunday 26 November

Baroka FC 2-2 Platinum Stars

Bloemfontein Celtic 0-1 Orlando Pirates



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Baroka fight back to deny Stars – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


by
Graeme Jackson

Sunday Nov 26, 2017. 17:57


Platinum Stars were twice pegged back by Baroka FC as the teams played to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Absa Premiership match at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday.

Bakgaga continue to lead the top flight despite not having won a game since late September, while Dikwena move back to 15th place on goal difference and have at least put together a five-match unbeaten run.

Stars created the first half chance of the match inside the opening 10 minutes, but striker Bongi Ntuli only succeeded in hitting the side netting with an effort from a tight angle.

The teams then cancelled each other out for most of the first half, with few scoring opportunities created at either end.

However, on 35 minutes the visitors put together a fine passing move which saw Robert Ng’ambi tee up Katlego Otladisa, who showed great composure to pick his spot and stroke home a low shot to make it 1-0 to Stars.

Otladisa’s first goal in PSL football left Dikwena one up at the half-time break, but they still opted for a tactical change at the start of the second as Enocent Mkhabela replaced Raymond Monama in midfield.

Yet it was Baroka’s first substitute, Mpho Kgaswane, who made a major impact on the game, as he struck home a superb shot from outside the box on 58 minutes to draw the hosts level at 1-1.

Stars almost reclaimed the lead in the 74th minute when Ntuli beat Virgil Vries to a long ball over the top and got around the goalkeeper, but with defenders retreating to pressure him the striker wasn’t able to capitalise.

The match looked set to end 1-1, but two late goals added some further drama. First, on 87 minutes, Ng’ambi scrambled the ball home from close range after Vries couldn’t handle a cross from the right flank, but this was immediately cancelled out by a sublime volley from Robin Ngalande to leave the game locked at 2-2.

The teams will be back in league action next midweek, with Baroka away to Mamelodi Sundowns on December 5, while Stars will take on hosts Polokwane City the following day.

Baroka FC (0) 2 (Kgaswane 58’, Ngalande 89’)

Platinum Stars (1) 2 (Otladisa 35’, Ng’ambi 87’)

Baroka: Vries, Shaku, Masenamela, Chawapihwa (Macha 66’), Banda,Moeti (Kgaswane 55’), Kgoetyane, Ntshangase (Mosele 84’), Madubanya, Mdantsane, Ngalande

Stars: Visser, Mnguni, Mwedihanga, Zulu, Sithole, Msomi, Masalesa, Ng’ambi, Monama (Mkhabela 46’), Otladisa (De Jongh 90’), Ntuli



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Orlando Pirates humble Bloemfontein Celtic – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates and Aphiwe Lubisi of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates at Dr Molemela Stadium, Bloemfontein on 26 November 2017 © Frikke Kapp/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Nov 26, 2017. 17:52


Orlando Pirates beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

As a result, Pirates climbed up to second place on the league table, while Celtic slip down to eighth spot on the standings.

Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb and his Pirates counterpart Jackson Mabokgwane were not seriously tested in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Tignyemb was called into action in the 16th minute and he denied Pirates midfielder Luvuyo Memela as the visitors began to press Celtic.

Pirates defender-cum-midfielder Gladwin Shitolo thought he had given his side the lead a few minutes before the half-hour mark, but he was ruled offside.

The momentum was with Celtic after the half-hour mark with Kabelo Mahlasela looking lively for the hosts.

But the Celtic attacking midfielder was contained by the Pirates defence and the two sides were locked at 0-0 at half-time.

The Buccaneers had slightly dominated the first-half, but they could not beat Cameroonian shot-stopper Tignyemb.

Pirates were forced to concede two corner-kicks by Celtic in the first five minutes of the second-half and the visitors dealt well with the set-pieces.

The home side’s defence was then caught napping and former Celtic midfielder Musa Nyatama beat Tignyemb to make it 1-0 to Pirates in the 62nd minute.

There was a defensive mix-up in the Pirates box seven minutes later, but Celtic could not punish the visitors following a cross by Deon Hotto.

The momentum was Celtic in the closing stages of the game with Pirates forced to sit back and defend.

Pirates defended very well in the dying minutes and ultimately, they ran out 1-0 winners over Celtic.

Celtic 0

Pirates (0) 1 (Nyatama 62′)

Celtic: Tignyemb, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Lubisi, Baloyi, Mashikinya (Mabaso 85′), Phalane, Letsoalo (Nyundu 60′), Mahlasela (Motshegwa 77′), Hotto, Mabena.

Pirates: Mabokgwane, Chabalala, Shitolo, Nyauza, Matlaba, Sangweni, Nyatama, Qalinge (Rakhale 57′), Memela, Makola (Sarr 71′), Gabuza (Nkosi 91’+1).



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Absa Premiership Champions continued to struggle


Amr Gamal of Bidvest Wits challenged by Punch Masenamela of Baroka during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Baroka and Bidvest Wits at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 22 October 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 18:00


Defending Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits continue to struggle in the league after playing to a goalless draw against Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result continues to see Wits hover in around the relegation zone where they temporarily occupy 14th place with nine points from 11 games, only a point above 15th place Ajax Cape Town (who have played nine games) and last placed Platinum Stars.

The first half really failed to produce any fireworks with chances on goal few and far between.

Both teams were poor in the final third and often gifted possession back to their opponents with horrible passing or bad decision making.

The only significant chance of the half went the way of Maritzburg in the 22nd minute when Bevan Fransman met a cross with a strong header, but his effort came off the crossbar.

That was about as exciting as it got in the opening half as the teams entered the break locked at 0-0.

Martizburg started the second half positively and came close to scoring two minutes in when Yazid Atouba met a loose clearance with a powerful 18-yard volley, but Darren Keet made a spectacular save to deny him.

The next chance on goal only came in the 68th minute when Wits’ Eleazar Rodgers rose highest to meet a pin-point cross, but his header came off the woodwork.

Both teams pushed players forward in the final 20 minutes of the match, but they were both poor in the final third yet again and unable to create scoring chances.

The match ended 0-0 with the result seeing Maritzburg temporarily up to 11th place with 11 points after ten games.

Maritzburg United (0) 0

Bidvest Wits (0) 0

Teams

Maritzburg: Ofori, Sanoka, Xulu, Fransman, Shandu, Rusike (Ntshangase 80’), Weidlich, Kunene (Mokate 71’), Atouba (Maboe 73’), Ndlovu, Mekoa.

Wits: Keet, Allie, Hlatshwayo, Klate (Claasen 75’), Monare, Rodgers (Keene 87’), Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Pienaar (Pule 61’), Phiri, Ntshangase.



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