Kaizer Chiefs are slowly relinquishing their grip on top spot in the PSL, setting up what could be a dramatic finish to the 2012/2013 season
Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 loss against Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday night has opened the door slightly for their rivals Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates to make an assault on top position in the PSL, but time is running out for the chasing pack.
Chiefs served up a lacklustre performance in Cape Town and were met by the full force of an inspired Urban Warriors outfit, who were determined to move above their relegation rivals and save their PSL status.
The slip-up means Chiefs rest merely three points above Platinum Stars and seven points ahead of Orlando Pirates, who have a game in hand on the top two sides.
Starting with the defending champions, Pirates have three games left in the season compared to Chiefs and Stars two due to their continued Caf Champions League commitments.
They will meet Mamelodi Sundowns in a catch-up PSL clash next week, with Pitso Mosimane’s side still struggling to find form and being labelled as possibly one of the worst Sundowns sides in a generation.
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Roger de Sa’s side will target a victory against the faltering Brazilians, but their own league form of merely one win in the last seven games does not inspire much confidence. Two home matches follow, with Pirates hosting both Black Leopards and Maritzburg United. Nine points are on offer for the Buccaneers but whether De Sa can juggle travelling throughout Africa and a PSL title challenge remains to be seen.
The Buccaneers poor league form haunted them when they lost a major chance to close the gap after losing 1-0 against Chippa United on Tuesday night, perhaps dispelling any concrete thoughts of regaining the PSL crown for a third season in a row.
Platinum Stars have not faltered in their surprise league season, pushing Chiefs to the brink and sitting only three points behind the Amakhosi. Two matches remain for Dikwena – an away trip to Durban where they will face Golden Arrows and a final league clash at home against SuperSport United. A Nedbank Cup clash against the same opponents awaits Cavin Johnson’s team this weekend.
The free-scoring and tactically astute side will most likely pick up maximum points in their final league games, meaning the pressure should be maintained on the team which has looked like champions until now – Kaizer Chiefs.
Chiefs’ current form and mental state may end their chances to win the PSL title for the first time in eight years. “Reclaiming the glory” has become a tougher prospect for the team which has looked imperious throughout the season. A lack of killer instinct has become apparent in a side which has dominated the majority of teams this season.
Draws against Maritzburg United, Golden Arrows and Platinum Stars began the rot which has now reached a climax after losing against Ajax Cape Town in the Mother City. Stuart Baxter will need to turn his side around in a short space of time due to Nedbank Cup commitments this weekend against United FC.
The Amakhosi then meet SuperSport United in what should prove to be a tough encounter at home. Chiefs will then travel to AmaTuks for their final league encounter, which could make or break their season. Steve Barker's team will be no pushovers, as they have shown throughout an inspired 2012/2013 campaign.
Pressure has laready begun to take its toll. Kaizer Chiefs fans will not settle for another season without the PSL title and neither will the club’s hierarchy, which heaps pressure on the side to perform in their last two matches. The pressure may be too hot to handle for the Chiefs squad and Platinum Stars will be waiting in the wings for the league leaders’ downfall.