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Friday's Joint PSL Preview: Maritzburg target Chippa win, Ajax in battle to escape relegation

19:27 GMT+3 25/01/2018
Fadlu Davids, Maritzburg United
Friday evening's PSL action will take off with eagerly awaited encounters involving one in-form team and three others looking to pick up wins

Friday evening's PSL action will take off with eagerly awaited encounters involving one in-form team and three others that are keen to get back to winning form.

Maritzburg United vs Chippa United

An in-form Maritzburg United outfit take on Chippa United in a PSL clash at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday.

The Team of Choice has been in fine form of late. Fadlu Davids' men have racked up two impressive wins in their last three matches, scoring a total of seven goals in the process.

Maritzburg thrashed Bloemfontein Celtic 4-0 in their last encounter and also upset high-flyers Free State Stars 3-0 in their own backyard at Goble Park, but were also on the receiving end, going down 1-0 to SuperSport United in-between the two victories.

The KwaZulu-Natal outfit currently sit in fifth spot with 27 points from 18 matches and could go as high as second position if they collect maximum points against Chippa and other results favour them.

Davids is hoping to have his captain Bevan Fransman back for the tie after he was stretchered off in the closing stages of their last match through injury.

The striking duo of Andrea Fileccia and Evans Rusike have seen their resurgence once again after struggling for form in front of goal. The former has scored twice in successive matches while the Zimbabwean hitman has contributed to the team's latest efforts by also bagging two goals in their victories over Ea Lla Koto and Phunya Sele Sele to increase his tally to six league goals. Rusike is also the only other player in the home team with over 1500 minutes under his belt this season alongside Lebohang Maboe with 1544.

In nine previous meetings between the sides, Maritzburg have come away with four wins to Chippa's just one with four other ties ending in draws.

Last season saw the Team of Choice continued their dominance over their Eastern Cape counterparts. In the first meeting Maritzburg won the five-goal thriller 3-2 before the teams played to a 0-0 draw in the return fixture.

The Chilli Boys are winless in their last two matches and could only settle for a goalless stalemate against Golden Arrows in their last match which came on the back of a 1-1 draw against current PSL champions Bidvest Wits.    
Teboho Moloi's side has gradually slipped down the PSL table into eighth position but could move into sixth spot if they can avoid a defeat in KZN. 

Chippa have accumulated a total of 24 points in 18 league encounters and could further step up their efforts in participating on the African continent by upsetting one of the best offensive tams in the PSL at the moment.

The last time Chippa came away with a victory was at the beginning of January when they recorded an impressive 2-0 victory away to AmaZulu with Linda Mntambo scoring both goals.

The tie earlier in the season ended in a goalless stalemate between the sides out in the Eastern Cape which holds out for either team to now come away with a win.

Ajax Cape Town vs Free State Stars 

Ajax Cape Town welcome fellow PSL strugglers Free State Stars to the Cape Town Stadium on Friday.

The Urban Warriors have had a tough run of late and are on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of city neighbours Cape Town City in the Ikapa Derby. They did come away with a 3-1 win over bottom-dwellers Platinum Stars but that also came on the back of a 2-1 defeat to log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Muhsin Ertugral's men are reeling in a precarious position and are in 15th spot having only picked up 16 points from their 18 matches but could give themselves a bit of a lifeline by moving out of the drop zone if they collect maximum points at home.

Tashreeq Morris has been the Cape side's main man upfront with five goals so far but Fagrie Lakay and Tendai Ndoro have each scored a single goal since joining the club. 

Ajax do however face a dilemma with the possibility of Ndoro not being able to feature for the side again after having already played for two other teams in the season. The Zimbabwean striker played for Orlando Pirates before jetting off to Saudi Arabia to join Al Faisaly, before returning to South Africa.

The Cape Town-based outfit will have to do duty without the services of John Takwara who was sent off during the tie against the Blue and Gold Army in the derby.

Ea Lla Koto have a chance to return to winning ways and close the gap on the league's front runners after suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat at home to the Team of Choice.

Before their heavy loss at home, Luc Eymael's men picked up two consecutive 1-0 wins over Cape Town City and the Clever Boys respectively, and will be eager to worsen Ajax's woes with an upsetting victory in the Mother City.  

The Bethlehem-based side have also confirmed the arrival of 25-year-old Belgian striker Maxime Cosse from third-tier outfit Patro Eisden Maasmechelen following the departure of Edward Manqele from the club, though the former's debut will be delayed for now until his paper work is sorted.

The visitors have had the upper hand in previous ties, winning 11 matches in 28 meetings to Ajax's seven victories while 10 outings have been drawn.

Stars took four points off Ajax in the first round tie this season, seeing off the Cape side 2-0.

Last season the two sides failed to cancel each other out as both ties ended in draws. The first match was a 1-1 draw in the Free State before a pulsating 2-2 draw in Cape Town.