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

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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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Bucs will bounce back this weekend – Micho – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

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Bucs will bounce back this weekend - Micho

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Micho Sredojevic

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 27, 2017. 18:00


Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says that his Orlando Pirates team will bounce back to form when they face Polokwane City this weekend.

Pirates suffered their first loss of the 2017/18 season when they went down 1-0 away to defending Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits on September 23.

The Buccaneers will play their last match before the international break when they face Polokwane away from home on Saturday evening.

“It was unknown territory we found ourselves in this season. We have always been leading but [on Saturday] we were leaded [sic] and we needed to overturn the result,” Sredojevic said, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“The players tried everything and, as a coach, I’m extremely proud of every player for giving their best under the given circumstances.

“The fact that we didn’t put the ball in the net was something that was worrying, but at the same time we have to pick up the pieces and learn our lessons.”

He added: “Whatever was good [we need] to keep it up. Whatever was wrong [we need] to correct.

“We need to look to the next match against Polokwane City to come back much more stronger and with the intention to improve the way we played.

“I’m convinced football will pay us back. We just need to push the players not to feel the pressure of playing for a big team but to enjoy playing their football.

“At the same time we also need to look for effective aspects of putting the ball in the net.”

Pirates’ match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane will kick off at 20h15 CAT.

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Stars look to build on weekend stalemate – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

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Stars look to build on weekend stalemate

Thobani Kunene of Platinum Stars challenged by Teboho Mokoena of Supersport United during 2017/18 Absa Premiership game between Supersport United and Platinum Stars at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 12 September [email protected] Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Sep 19, 2017. 10:47


Platinum Stars will look to get their Absa Premiership campaign back on track when they host Golden Arrows at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on 20 September 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Stars finally picked up their first point of the season by playing to a goalless draw at home to Chippa United on September 16. Despite the result, the Rustenburg side remain rooted to the bottom of the log.

Coach Roger de Sa will hope the stalemate against the Chilli Boys proves to be a turning point in their season – and they need to claim a first win in the near future if they to dispel the early notion that they are relegation candidates.

Arrows have been one of the surprise packages of the league thus far, with their impressive 4-1 Durban derby win over AmaZulu on September 17 taking them to the top of the log on goal difference.

Abafana Bes’thende have netted seven times in their last two league matches and certainly have the attacking firepower to trouble any team. Coach Clinton Larsen deserves great credit for his early-season work, but will be hoping that this is just the start for his youthful team.

In head-to-head stats, Stars and Arrows have met in 26 league matches since 2003/04. Dikwena have claimed 12 wins compared to seven for Abafana Bes’thende, while seven matches have been drawn. The Rustenburg side has won eight of their 13 home matches against their Durban counterparts, suffering just three defeats in the process.

Last season Stars completed a league ‘double’ over Arrows, winning 1-0 in Durban and 3-0 in the return game in Rustenburg. The last four league matches in which Dikwena have played host to Abafana Bes’thende have produced no less than 20 goals.

Arrows’ line-up from their 4-1 win over AmaZulu on September 17: Gumede, S. Dube, Mzava, Mngwengwe, Nkombelo, N. Cele (Sibiya 54’), Jooste, Shongwe (Molefe 27’), Mahachi, Magubane (Mutizwa 77’), Lamola.

Stars’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with Chippa on September 16: Mzimela, De Jong, Mwedihanga, Mlilo, Zulu, Mere, Mbatha, Mkhabela (Monama 57’), Nale (Kunene 46’), Ng’ambi, Ntuli (Matlakala 79’).

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AfricanFootball previews the CAF Confederation Cup’s weekend action

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AfricanFootball previews the CAF Confederation Cup’s weekend action

Jeremy Brockie of Supersport United celebrates a goal during the MTN8 Semi Final Second Leg match between Maritzburg United and Supersport United on the 09 September 2017 at Harry Gwala Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 11:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to the resumption of the CAF Confederation Cup, which will feature four quarterfinal, first leg matches played across the continent.

The action gets underway on Friday evening in Tshwane when SuperSport United and Zesco United meet for a Southern African derby. SuperSport have shown solid form of late (they booked a place in the MTN8 final last weekend) and in New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie they boast the tournament’s leading goal scorer (nine strikes thus far).

Saturday evening promises to be a jam-packed, drama-thrilled sequence of three matches in East and North Africa. First, at the Al-Ubayyid Stadium in Sudan, hosts Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid will be looking to get the better of reigning Confed Cup champions TP Mazembe.

The DRC giants went unbeaten through the group stage and will fancy their chances of a second successive triumph in this competition – though they must prove themselves in a tricky trip to Sudan.

Morocco’s FUS Rabat will then play host to Tunisian side CS Sfaxien. The visitors are three-time champions of the Confed Cup and were mightily impressive through the group stage, making them the favourites to prevail in this North African derby.

And soon after the action gets underway in Rabat, it will be Algeria’s turn for kick-off when the Stade du 5 Juillet in the capital sees MC Alger taking on another Tunisian side in the shape of Club Africain.

CA looked down and out in the group stage but they ended up topping their pool with three successive victories, and they will look to bring that momentum to Algeria for what promises to be a thrilling first-leg clash.

CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinal fixtures

First leg matches, all times CAT

Friday 15 September

SuperSport United v Zesco United – 19h00

Saturday 16 September

Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid v TP Mazembe – 19h00

FUS Rabat v CS Sfaxien – 21h30

MC Alger v Club Africain – 21h45

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AfricanFootball previews the CAF Champions League’s weekend action

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AfricanFootball previews the CAF Champions League’s weekend action

epa05398148 Etoile Sahel’s player Bangoura Al khaly (C) in action against Fath Union player Nayef Aguerd (R) during the CAF Champions League group stage, between Etoile Sahel and Fath Union at Stade Olympique de Sousse, Tunisia, 29 June 2016 EPA/STR

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 10:00


AfricanFootball looks ahead to the resumption of the CAF Champions League, which will feature four quarterfinal, first leg matches played across the continent.

The action gets underway on Saturday afternoon at Estadio do Ferroviario in Beira, Mozambique, where the host team Ferroviario will be looking to make the most of home advantage against Algerian giants USM Alger.

The Mozambican side did superbly to finish above the Sudanese pair of Al Merrikh and Al Hilal in the group stage, but they face a tough task in trying to overcoming their North African opponents.

The most anticipated tie of the quarterfinals pits eight-time champions Al Ahly up against Tunisian heavyweights Esperance, with their first leg set for the Borg El Arab Stadium outside of Alexandria on Saturday evening.

The Egyptians were ever so lucky to edge out Zanaco to the final qualifying berth in their group, but they remain a team with immense pedigree and will always be one of the favourites if they are present at the sharp end of the competition.

Reigning African champions Mamelodi Sundowns will continue the defence of their crown when they host Wydad Casablanca at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane on Sunday afternoon.

Pitso Mosimane’s side will have to overcome a lengthy injury list as they look to improve on their home form (they didn’t win any of the three matches they hosted in the group stage) against a Wydad side which not only topped their group but also secured the Moroccan top flight championship.

Finally, the weekend’s Champions League matches wrap up with Libya’s Al Ahly Tripoli hosting Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel at the Borg El Arab Stadium. Tripoli cannot host true ‘home’ matches due to the continuing political instability in their home country, but it hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of Africa’s toughest teams.

CAF Champions League quarterfinal fixtures

First leg matches, all times CAT

Saturday 16 September

Ferroviario Beira v USM Alger – 15h00

Al Ahly v Esperance Tunis – 19h00

Sunday 17 September

Mamelodi Sundowns v Wydad Casablanca – 15h00

Al Ahly Tripoli v Etoile Sahel – 20h00

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