Goals galore in DStv Premiership as teams sharpen up
Kaizer Chiefs flexed their scoring prowess ahead of a mouthwatering tie against reigning DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Following an opening DStv Premiership weekend, where goals were as scarce as moisture in the desert, the midweek fixtures remedied that paltry return from the curtain-raiser.
The first game week of the new campaign saw only 10 goals scored in eight fixtures, including two nil-all draws and just as many 1-0 victories.
By contrast, the second set of Premiership fixtures had a bit more to offer on the goals front, to the satisfaction of supporters back in stadiums from the season’s onset following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The goal tally improved by nine goals from the opener, with Kaizer Chiefs recording the largest winning margin – a 3-0 thrashing of Maritzburg United in front of a partisan crowd at FNB Stadium.
There was also a thrilling 3-2 win for Swallows over Cape Town City, while Royal AM netted three in their win versus Chippa United. AmaZulu compounded the misery of SuperSport United (who recently rehired Gavin Hunt as coach) early in the season by beating the Tshwane outfit.
Usuthu edged Matsatsantsa 2-1 thanks to strikes by former Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango and Bongi Ntuli. Meanwhile, there were 1-0 wins for TS Galaxy and Sekhukhune United, who beat Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows respectively.
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Amakhosi’s sworn rivals, Orlando Pirates, could only manage a 1-1 stalemate against a stubborn Stellenbosch side.
In a convincing victory, Amakhosi demonstrated potential for the type of scintillating football they can play under new coach and club legend Arthur Zwane. Dynamic, blisteringly fast and clinical in front of goal, the Soweto giants repeatedly carved Maritzburg apart.
Chiefs’ new striker, Ashley Du Preez, acquired from Stellonbosch in the off-season, netted his first goal for his new club. Bafana Bafana midfielder Keagan Dolly grabbed the second, before Amakhosi’s 18-year-old academy graduate, Mduduzi Shabalala, added gloss to the result in the dying embers of the game.
Now the Soweto side will be looking to transfer the momentum gained against Maritzburg to a crunch tie against champions Sundowns on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.
Masandawana are licking their wounds after falling to a surprise defeat as they faced a TS Galaxy side who keep improving under German coach Sead Ramović.
Speaking after the match, Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena suggested that some of the side’s undoing came from the fact that the opposition had recently signed one of their players, Sibusiso Vilakazi, who joined Masandawana in 2016 before departing for Galaxy recently.
“You could see that having had Vila train with us the entire pre-season [before joining Galaxy] played a little bit into their advantage because he has too much intel and they knew 150% the weaknesses of our team. But we could’ve played better,” reasoned Mokwena after the surprising loss.
“We know we can play better. We know we had a couple of players not on regular intensity personally. But that’s [down to] preparation, and preparation always [rests with] us the coaches,” the 32-year-old mentor said.
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“If the team is not well prepared in relation to the duels, the physicality and the intensity, then we have to look at ourselves first and check how we prepared the team. Hopefully we can prepare the team better for the next match.”
That next match will be against the most supported football club in the country – Chiefs.
Last season, Amakhosi failed to beat Masandawana, who have won the past five league titles in a row, losing one match and drawing another. Although Amakhosi did triumph 2-1 in 2021 to claim the bragging rights.
With Chiefs having displayed their potential and Sundowns looking to bounce back from a rare defeat, the clash promises to be electric in Tshwane.
Elsewhere, Royal will be looking to maintain their record as the only team to win every match to date when they tackle Stellenbosch on Saturday at 3pm, while their KwaZulu-Natal neighbours, Golden Arrows, will be looking to arrest a rotten run and register their first points of the season away to Limpopo side Marumo Gallants. As will Cape Town City in their clash with AmaZulu.
On Sunday, Pirates take on Chippa United in Soweto while Galaxy will look to deny Hunt and SuperSport their first win of the season after two games. DM