Bloemfontein Celtic vs Kaizer Chiefs | Sunday 31 March | Free State Stadium | 15:30
The PSL returns with a bang this weekend with log leaders Kaizer Chiefs travelling to the intimidating Free State Stadium to face an in-form Bloemfontein Celtic side. Amakhosi have not won on their last three league visits to the home of Siwelele. This is the first of two encounters at the stadium between these sides as they were drawn against each other in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup to be played mid-April.
To Win (90mins)
Bloemfontein Celtic 2/1
Kaizer Chiefs 13/10
Celtic are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, recording four wins in the process. They now occupy fifth spot on the table and also marched into the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals in their last match with a 2-1 derby win over Free State Stars. Lyle Lakay cancelled Stars’ first half opener before substitute Lennox Bacela netted a late winner for the away side. Their last league match, a few days before the derby, saw them salvage a 1-1 draw with second place Orlando Pirates, Vuyani Ntanga getting a stoppage time equaliser. Clinton Larsen’s men have been excellent at home this season, winning seven of their ten home matches and losing just two. Lerato Manzini is the man to watch, the striker has seven goals to his name so far this season.
Kaizer Chiefs lead the table by five points over rivals Orlando Pirates, who have a game in hand. With eight games remaining, the business end of the season is fast approaching and the Naturena-based side will be looking for nothing less than three points here. Left back Keegan Ritchie will miss this match which could provide Stuart Baxter a headache, with Chiefs' first-choice, Tsepo Masilela, out for several weeks with a knee injury. Baxter’s outfit has, however, been boosted with the return from injury of striker Lehlohonolo Majoro and midfielder George Lebese. The duo have started training and will be available for Sunday’s clash. According to Chiefs, the international FIFA break has allowed the players time to recover from their respective injuries, adding that the team continued to train as normal last week, despite six of their players being part of the Bafana Bafana set-up.
Chiefs were disappointing in their last league match against Orlando Pirates, which ended in a goalless draw. They made up for that lacklustre effort with a 2-0 win over Polokwane City in the Nedbank Cup last 16 round. Baxter made some changes to the side and one of them, Sthembiso Ngcobo, opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a superb finish from Siyabonga Nkosi’s pass. Baxter then introduced Bernard Parker for Sthembiso Ngcobo with 25 minutes to go, as he looked to kill the game. The Soweto giants started holding possession confidently and doubled the lead in the 76th minute through substitute Kingston Nkhatha, who finished brilliantly from Parker’s six yard cross. Chiefs have lost just once on the road, recording five wins and four draws in their ten away matches.
VERDICT: Draw 21/10
Chiefs have lost to Bloemfontein Celtic just twice in their last 17 league meetings. However, Celtic should prove tough to beat at home and the draw is tipped.