The Premier Soccer League (PSL) table is certainly taking shape with just a few games to go, and no matter where you look, the pressure is palpable.
Saturday was no exception as along with Kaizer Chiefs’ late evening clash with Bloemfontein Celtic, the likes of Maritzburg United, Polokwane City, Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United were in action among others.
In the day’s early kick-offs, Maritzburg most notably kept their hopes of survival alive as they claimed a 2-1 win over Black Leopards who were also keen on securing their own survival.
Following defeat in midweek against Orlando Pirates, it was expected to be a mammoth climb for Maritzburg in Thohoyandou, but Eric Tinkler’s men showed great fight and determination.
After a goalless first half which saw Maritzburg threaten the Leopards goal on a few occasions, the team of Choice finally drew first blood just after the restart.
Mohau Mokate benefitted from Fortune Makaringe’s creativity and made no mistake.
Mokate’s strike was then followed up by a Leopards own goal minutes later, again with Makaringe in the thick of things as he forced the mistake which led to the second goal.
However, Lidoda Duvha were not about to go down without a fight and pulled a goal back on the hour mark, courtesy of talismanic forward Mwape Musonda who further increased his lead at the top of the PSL goal scoring leader board with his 15th goal of the season.
Try as Leopards did they were unable to find an equaliser as Maritzburg moved within a point of 15th placed Chippa United.
Leopards, on the other hand, are just two points above the relegation playoff spot.
Meanwhile, in the other of 15:00 kick-offs, Polokwane City continued their impressive campaign, registering their 11th win of the season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Highlands Park away from home.
Walter Musona and Puleng Tlolane struck in the 31st and 76th minute respectively to see the Lions of the North move up to fifth on the standings.
For, highlands Park it is now anxious times as they find their top eight qualification hanging in the balance with two games remaining.
Lastly, arguably the most anticipated game of the weekend produced a drama-filled evening.
The Students were hoping to keep their title chase going as they took on a stubborn SuperSport in Mbombela, but it proved to be a rather frustrating outing for Gavin Hunt’s men with Matsatsantsa matching the opposition on the pitch.
That was until the final five minutes of the first half when the game sprung into life.
First Sifiso Hlanti netted for Wits before Clayton Daniels replied in stoppage time.
While the first half had goals, the second half had a lot more talking points.
It all started when Dean Furman appeared to talk himself into a second booking after remonstrating with the referee for what he deemed as a deliberate elbow by Haashim Domingo.
Furman was livid and made his frustrations known as he walked off the field and into the tunnel with just over 20 minutes to go.
The clash though got even more intense in the dying embers of the game.
With Wits desperate for a win in order to maintain their pursuit of Bucs, they had a goal denied, despite the Clever Boys up in arms as they were adamant that Terrence Dzvukamanja’s shot had crossed the line.
Nonetheless, Wits were forced to settle for the 1-1 draw, meaning that they now remain five points adrift of Pirates.