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Sekhukhune vs Maritzburg will influence relegation and top eight battle

FILE - Maritzburg United head coach Ernst Middendorp. Photo: Kabelo Leputu/BackpagePix

FILE - Maritzburg United head coach Ernst Middendorp. Photo: Kabelo Leputu/BackpagePix

Published Mar 15, 2022

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Durban — Chippa United are still far from safe in terms of relegation but there is no doubt that their performances have improved in recent weeks under coach Kurt Lentjies.

The Chilli Boys head into their game against Marumo Gallants on the back of an impressive scrappy 2-1 away win over Golden Arrows.

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They did lose 3-2 against Gallants three weeks ago, however, it is a game that the Eastern Cape side could have won had they had more luck on their side and composure. After leading for much of the game, they eventually were downed after conceding twice in the last ten minutes of the game to Ndbayithethwa Ndlondlo and Joseph Malongoane.

However, Chippa will also be up against a very confident Gallants side. Dan Malesela’s side are on a high, having won their last five games in all competitions. They most recently eliminated Orlando Pirates from the Round of 16 of the Nedbank Cup after prevailing 5-4 on penalties.

Gallants are without a defeat in 2022. The last time that they lost a game was when Pirates beat them 2-1 in a league clash in late December.

The game between Sekhukhune United and Maritzburg United at the Ellis Park in Johannesburg is also likely to have a bearing on the outcome of the relegation battle and top eight battle this season.

After a strong start to their first ever season in the South African top-flight, Sekhukhune appear to have been figured out as they have lost three out of their last four top-flight games, dropping out of the top eight in the process.

However, given the erratic nature of this season, a win for Sekhukhune will likely put them back into the top eight. A run of wins between now and the end of the season can also see them still secure a strong top eight finish.

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Maritzburg will also be playing to win, especially as they head into the game on the back of a surprise 2-1 win over Sundowns. By beating Sundowns, Ernst Middendorp’s side became only the second to do so in all competitions this season after their KwaZulu-Natal rivals, AmaZulu, also did in a league encounter back in December.

@eshlinv

IOL Sport

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