‘Fi­nals’ tough for sides fac­ing rel­e­ga­tion

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

For the bot­tom-placed clubs in the Absa Premier­ship, ev­ery game be­tween now and the sea­son’s end is a fi­nal.

Math­e­mat­i­cally speak­ing, any of the five bot­tom-placed sides could still go down, as they can­not catch Golden Ar­rows, who are on 33 points with four games re­main­ing.

Bloem­fontein Celtic, Polok­wane City, Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria, Jomo Cos­mos and Mar­itzburg United need to reach 33 points to guar­an­tee safety.

For Cos­mos and Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria, their “fi­nals” start this af­ter­noon at Olen Park.

Cos­mos will host AmaTuks in what is an ab­so­lutely piv­otal game for both sides to sur­vive rel­e­ga­tion this sea­son.

This is a six-poin­ter of note, as no one can af­ford to drop points.

A six-poin­ter is a game when your team and the team above you are on the same or sim­i­lar points, so if you win, you get three points but at the same time stop the other team from get­ting three points – so it’s con­sid­ered a con­test over six points.

The two teams have al­most every­thing in com­mon: from the same num­ber of games (26) to num­ber of wins (5), losses (15), draws (6), goals con­ceded (35) and points (21).

The only dif­fer­ence is the num­ber of goals scored.

With this in mind, the sides will want to use one another as a step­ping stone to­wards safety while con­demn­ing the other to the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion.

Cos­mos go into the game on the back of a four-game win­less streak in all com­pe­ti­tions. They ar­rested their los­ing run when they were held to a goal­less draw by Bloem­fontein Celtic on Wed­nes­day.

In fact, Ezenkosi last won a game more than a month ago, in March, when they beat Kaizer Chiefs.

Af­ter putting in a good run, which saw them col­lect four points on the road in their pre­vi­ous two games, AmaTuks’ im­pres­sive run was cur­tailed by Chiefs, who beat them 2-1 on Wed­nes­day.

But Shaun Bartlett should fancy his chances against Jomo Sono, as his side have not only been play­ing good foot­ball but have been cre­at­ing and con­vert­ing their chances.

They will need to keep do­ing that this af­ter­noon – any­thing less than a vic­tory could spell trou­ble for the uni­ver­sity side, par­tic­u­larly with log lead­ers Mamelodi Sun­downs next on their menu on Wed­nes­day.

They would want to go into the Tsh­wane derby on the back of a con­vinc­ing vic­tory.

Sono would rather play for a draw than drop all three points, even though this would not help his chances of sur­vival much.

Cos­mos’ next two fix­tures are away to Ajax Cape Town and Golden Ar­rows be­fore wrap­ping up the sea­son against Mar­itzburg United. A win for ei­ther side will give them breath­ing space, while a draw will not change the sta­tus quo at the bot­tom. Another po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive en­counter is be­tween Celtic and Ajax at the Dr Petrus Molemela Sta­dium this af­ter­noon.


TIME UP Jomo Sono


IN­SPI­RA­TION Shaun Bartlett

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