Wednesday's Joint PSL Preview: Bottom clubs face fierce mid-table battles

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Ajax Cape Town, Polokwane City and Chippa United are all looking for improved performances on Wednesday night

Chippa United welcome Maritzburg United to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

The Chilli Boys are winless in five matches, accumulating just four points from a possible 15 and last picked up a victory when they beat PSL newcomers AmaZulu 2-0 back in August. The PE-based side played to a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows in their last match. Veteran striker Katlego Mashego had given them an early second half lead but Zimbabwean marksman Knox Mutizwa equalized for Abafana Bes'thende 25 minutes from time. The draw subsequently saw them slip further down the PSL standings into 12th spot but they could move as high as fifth position if they upset Maritzburg and other results favour them. 

Last season Chippa struggled to get maximum points against Maritzburg. In fact the Chilli Boys only collected a single point from both league fixtures during the 2016/17 campaign. The first meeting was a share of the spoils which ended in a 1-1 draw before the Team of Choice defeated Chippa 3-2 in a fiercely contested affair in the second meeting.

Fadlu Davids and his team are also looking to finally pick up their winning momentum once again. Maritzburg had a dream start to the season that saw claim top spot earlier on but their form has since taken a nose dive. 

David's charges are currently in seventh position on the log standings and have only picked up one point in their last three matches which was a 0-0 draw against Orlando Pirates. Maritzburg have since then suffered two consecutive defeats at home. They lost 2-0 to Kaizer Chiefs before a narrow 1-0 loss to Free State Stars though a win in the Windy City could also see them move into the top five if other results go their way.


Free State Stars go in search of their third consecutive win when they welcome Ajax Cape Town to Goble Park in a PSL encounter on Wednesday night. 

Ea Lla Koto have looked lively in their past two matches on the road where they have come away with six points. Luc Eymael's charges upset Polokwane City 3-2 in Limpopo before their narrow 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Since the arrival of the Belgian coach at the beginning of the season, the Bethlehem-based side has displayed some enterprising football that has seen them slowly move up the league table to 11th spot with seven points from six outings. 

Ea Lla Koto will be boosted by the return of experienced centre back Rooi Mahamutsa who is back in the mix this after recovering from a minor inflammation of the Achilles tendon. 

Togolese striker Mohammed Anas has been key in Stars' attacking and bagged two goals against Rise and Shine and Eymael will be pleased that his players are finally warming up to his philosophy.

The Urban Warriors have seen a dip in form from their past two matches and are flirting with relegation, sitting just three points above the danger zone in 13th position with five points after six games. 

Stanley Menzo's team were held to a 2-2 draw Baroka FC before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of city rivals Cape Town City in their Ikapa Derby encounter. The last time Ajax picked up three points was in mid-September when they convincingly beat Rise and Shine 2-0 in the Mother City. 

The two teams failed to cancel out each other last season in the league. In the first encounter in Cape Town, the match ended in a pulsating 2-2 draw before the sides shared points again in the Free State with a 1-1 scoreline. 


PSL newcomers AmaZulu are hoping to return to winning ways when they take to the pitch against Polokwane City in the league on Wednesday at the King Zwelithini Stadium.

Amabesh'ankone are on a two-match unbeaten streak and could land their third win of the season. The KwaZulu-Natal-based outfit played to a 1-1 draw in their last match against Platinum Stars but claimed their biggest win since returning to top flight football with a 3-0 thrashing of defending PSL champions Bidvest Wits.

Cavin Johnson's team are in ninth position with eight points after six outings and a win against Rise and Shine will see them move onto 11 points and into the top eight.

Johnson will have to do without midfielder Michael Morton who is suspended for this tie after he was shown a straight red card for retaliation when he shoved Gabadhino Mhango to the ground after the Malawian spat in his face. 

A plus for Usuthu is that new signing Rhulani Manzini has been finding the back of the net on a regular basis. The former Chippa United frontman is his club's leading goalscorer with three goals with all those goals coming in the past two matches. 

The last time these two sides faced off was back in 2015 when Usuthu recorded a 2-0 win over Rise and Shine with Goodman Dlamini and Bongi Ntuli netting for the home side at the Princess Magogo Stadium.

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Meanwhile, Bernard Molekwa's team were held to a 2-2 draw by Orlando Pirates at home in their previous league match two weeks ago, conceding a last minute goal through Thamsanqa Gabuza.

The Limpopo outfit are placed 14th on the league standings with five points from seven points however have a man in their ranks that has been scoring on a regular basis. Rodney Ramagalela has netted four league goals this season and will look to inspire his side to victory.

 

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