After probably one of the worst title defences in PSL history Supersport United will be in search of some joy when they travel to the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on Bloemfontein Celtic in an Absa Premiership match, kick-off at 3.30pm.
Matsatsantsa have endured a difficult season and look a shadow of the team that romped to three successive titles between 2008 and 2010. Much of this is down to them losing their best players (to transfers and injuries), but coach Gavin Hunt will still feel that his side have underperformed this term.
This was none more evident than when United were held to a goalless draw by AmaZulu in midweek. In that match they were by far the superior side, creating chance after chance, but they were unable to take those opportunities. Luck just hasn’t been going their way this season and that was underlined when Kermit Erasmus missed a penalty in the match.
Hunt was not a happy man following the disappointing draw and had this to say, “You can’t create so many chances in a game and not score, it is madness. We get our first penalty of the season after 21 games and we don’t score which makes it even worse, but that has been the story of the whole season.”
Still, hunt is upbeat, “We just need to keep showing faith in each other and keep believing. We will keep soldiering on.” And things will not get any easier for SuperSport as they take on an inform Bloemfontein Celtic side in their own back yard. “It is going to be tough, but we good enough to go there and get something. We need to start picking up the three points when we create so many chances” commented Hunt.
The Phunya Sele Sele have not played at home since early February, but still they have extended their remarkable unbeaten run in the league to 11 matches. Their last outing saw them claim a valuable point in a tough away game against Platinum Stars.
On his side’s performance against Platinum Stars Larsen said, “My players were brilliant today. I have to compliment them for their fighting spirit. In the game we controlled the play for long periods but we had to come back and we did.”
Coach Clinton Larsen will be pleased that his side have shown such tenacity in this unbeaten streak but one feels that they could have converted some of the draws (eight of them in the 11-game run) into wins, which would have seen them garner more points and possibly be challenging Mamelodi Sundowns in fourth place.
As it is, Celtic are in fifth and five points off the pace of the Brazilians, but there is no denying that Larsen has done an excellent job thus far.
This weekend Celtic will once again put their unbeaten home record (the only PSL team left with such a distinction) to the test against the outgoing league champions SuperSport United.
“SuperSport are a good team and the game will be tough, but we don’t plan on letting our home record suffer. We are confident going into the game and we will fight for the points. We want climb the league table,” said Larsen.
Overall the teams have met 34 times in the league since 1990, with SuperSport claiming nine wins to Celtic’s seven, while a remarkable 18 games (that more than half of all their league meetings) have ended in draws.
When the teams met earlier this season in Tshwane, SuperSport defeated Celtic 2-1 thanks to goals from Morgan Gould and Kermit Erasmus. Prince Hlela scored the consolation goal for Phunya Sele Sele
The rest of Absa Premiership matches this weekend:
Tonight: Ajax Cape Town v Free State Stars (Athlone, 8pm), Maritzburg United v Santos (Harry Gwala, 8pm)
Tomorrow: AmaZulu v Vasco da Gama (Ulundi), Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates (FNB), Mamelod Sundowns v BidVest Wits (Lucas Moripe, 8.15pm)
Sunday: Moroka Swallows v Platinum Stars (Dobsonville) and Mpumalanga Black Aces v Golden Arrows (Puma). Kick-Off for all the matches is 3.30pm, unless stated.