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Football | Absa Premiership

Mxolisi Machupu with Ronwen Williams © Gallo Images

SuperSport, Chiefs out to ignite title challenge

SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs will both be looking to spark a late run for the Absa Premiership title when they lock horns at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.

Kick-off is at 8pm CAT.

SuperSport claimed a fifth win from their last six league matches when they edged Free State Stars 1-0 at home last weekend. Mxolisi Machupu scored for the third game in succession.

Matsatsantsa have claimed 22 points from 11 home matches this season, recording seven wins, one draw and three defeats through 2018/19.

Chiefs are unbeaten in their last four league matches and claimed a ninth win of the season when they defeated Maritzburg United 1-0 at home earlier this month.

The Amakhosi have claimed 17 points from 11 away matches this season, with their last result on the road a 1-1 draw at Polokwane City.

In head-to-head statistics, SuperSport and Chiefs have met in 56 league matches since 1990. Matsatsantsa and Amakhosi have both recorded 20 wins, while 16 matches have been drawn.

When the teams met earlier this season, also at the Mbombela Stadium in December 2018, Chiefs claimed a 1-0 home win thanks to a superb goal from former SuperSport player George Maluleka. The Amakhosi have won four of their last five league games against United.

Matsatsanta will be without captain Dean Furman for the clash. The midfielder is set to serve a one-game suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.

What they said:

SuperSport United head coach Kaitano Tembo:

“Their strongest point is that they are unpredictable under coach Ernst as they can adapt to different ways of playing,” said Tembo.

“They are a difficult team to prepare for because they change their playing system regularly.

“Sometimes they play a diamond in the midfield, sometimes they play with three at the back and overload the midfield and up front.

“They look very solid and their defence is structured but we need to be well prepared for them.”

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp

“Against SuperSport, we want the result – that’s what counts now. We have thrown away too many points through errors and not taking our chance when we could have been in a leading position,” said Middendorp.

“Just to make it clear, that’s not something I’m just saying, it’s a reality. We can sit down and use whatever statistics system you want, and we will all be of the same opinion.

“At the moment it is all about results.”

Key players:

SuperSport United:

Teboho Mokoena: Key in filling the void left by the suspended Furman will be Mokoena, fresh after winning the January goal of the month accolade. The young midfielder has been in superb form for Matsatsantsa this season and will be aiming to add another goal to his rising collection as SuperSport set their sights on closing the gap between them and log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Mxolisi Macuphu: With four goals in his last five league matches, Macuphu’s arrival in the South African capital has sparked a run of four wins in the club’s last five matches. The forward has solved a lot of coach Tembo’s attacking questions and he will be the go-to-man once more as SuperSport aim to extend the gap between themselves in fifth and those fighting around them.

Kaizer Chiefs:

Dumisani Zuma: The Amakhosi winger has really come into his own in recent weeks and with two goals in his last two matches, Zuma heads into this weekend in a good run of form as Chiefs aim to pull level on points with Matsatsanta. The pacey wide player is a real threat on the counter-attack and SuperSport will need to keep a close eye on him if they are to avoid defeat.

Daniel Cardoso: Arguably the first name on the team sheet of late, Cardoso has been a mainstay in the Glamour Boys' defence since Middendorp took over the reins. The centre-back is key to how Chiefs want to play and his experience – partnered with that of the fully fit again Ramahlwe Mphahlele – will be key to keeping things tight at the back for the Soweto giants.

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