Editor's Blog 24.10.2014 05:04 pm

Home advantage to count in Telkom Knockout

Back in business: Siphiwe Tshabalala. Picture: BackpagePix

Back in business: Siphiwe Tshabalala. Picture: BackpagePix

The four Gauteng sides with home advantage this weekend will all fancy their chances of making the Telkom Knockout semfinals.

Not only did Bidvest Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs benefit from the Premier Soccer League’s daft decision to seed the last eight draw, they also lucked out in getting the opportunity to play in front of their own fans.

Kaizer Chiefs slipped up in their midweek league draw with Moroka Swallows, breaking their 13-game winning streak from the start of the season. Chiefs were lethargic out of the blocks at FNB Stadium, and no doubt coach Stuart Baxter will want them firing from the kick off against Stars.

Amakhosi already hammered Dikwena in the two legs of the 2014 MTN8 semifinals, and Allan Freese’s side have been in woeful form for most of the season. Stars started the season with a promising win at Sundowns in the MTN8, but since then they have only won three more matches in all competitions. I expect Chiefs to win comfortably on Sunday.

Orlando Pirates’ inconsistent season continued on Tuesday night as they lost to MP Black Aces in the Absa Premiership. The Buccaneers face an Ajax side playing well under Roger De Sa this season, and they should give Vladimir Vermezovic’s Buccaneers a tough game at Orlando Stadium. But I expect Pirates’ cup pedigree to come through in a tight match.

Sundowns ought to batter AmaZulu in Tshwane, though Pitso Mosimane’s men have stumbled in the league, with two draws on the trot leaving them further adrift of Kaizer Chiefs. The Telkom Knockout, however, represents the Brazilians with a great shot at another trophy, and they have been handed arguably the easiest draw of the round, against Wilfred Mugeyi’s beleaguered troops. The guts AmaZulu showed to turn Bloemfontein Celtic over in the last 16 must be commended, but I expect Sundowns to have too much firepower.

Wits and SuperSport both endured poor home defeats in midweek, losing to Polokwane City and Maritzburg United respectively. Gavin Hunt’s Clever Boys need to rediscover the form that saw them thump Moroka Swallows in the previous round. Gordon Igesund was brought right back down to earth after his excellent start at SuperSport, his side embarrassed 4-1 by Maritzburg. This one will be close, but again I think the home side will come through.

 

poll

results

AmaTuks 0-1 Mbombela Utd
Mbombela Utd 0-3 Highlands Park

fixtures

Highlands Park vs AmaTuks
Highlands Park vs Mbombela Utd
Mbombela Utd vs AmaTuks

psl log

# Team GP Pts
1 Mamelodi Sundowns 30 71
2 Bidvest Wits 30 57
3 Platinum Stars 30 47
4 Mpumalanga Black Aces 30 47
5 Kaizer Chiefs 30 46
6 Chippa United 30 45
7 Orlando Pirates 30 41
8 SuperSport United 30 40
9 Golden Arrows 30 40
10 Ajax Cape Town 30 37
11 Bloemfontein Celtic 30 36
12 Free State Stars 30 35
13 Polokwane City 30 31
14 Maritzburg United 30 27
15 Univ of Pretoria 30 25
16 Jomo Cosmos 30 25