NFD : Weekend Wrap up, Relegation and Title battle
The National First Division saw all teams playing their 20th games this past weekend. The race for automatic promotion, play off spots and avoiding relegation has started.
National First Division title chasers, Baroka FC, returned to winning ways when they thrashing Cape Town All Stars 4-0 in their own backyard. Baroka lost to FC Cape Town at home and drew in the limpopo derby against Black Leopard. That opened doors for other teams to close the gap on their lead and it as Witbank Spurs who reduced the gap to one point.
Bakgaga as Baroka FC is know clearly illustrated their intentions of automatic promotion with a classic display of attacking football that they are known for, the current league’s leading marksman, Thabiso Kutumela, hit a brace to bring his total to sixteen. Two goals in either half, the others coming from Victor Letsoalo and Dumisani Ngwenya
Witbank Spurs remain a point behind log leaders Baroka FC following a narrow 1-0 win over Black Leopards. Siyavutha claimed yet another scalp thanks to Thabang Klaas, which leaves Lidoda Duvha well off the pace eleven points from a play-off spot. Black Leopard haven’t had a great season themselves blowing hot and cold at time. Leopard drew most games at home, losing valuable points.
The chasing pack of Highlands Park and Milano United refused to be left behind as they won their respective home games. Highland Parks disposed Vasco da Gama 2-0 at Makhulong Stadium to maintain their third league position. The Lions of the North continued their dream of PSL soccer after beating out-of-form Vasca da Gama 2-0 at home with both goals coming in the last fifteen minutes. The Namibian Peter Shalulile opened the scoring before a penalty from Jermaine Christian.
It was a clash of the fourth spot when Milano United hosted Royal Eagles at Athlone Stadium. A loss for Milano United would have meant that they would lose ground on the log leaders. Milano United were better organised and it was Gregory Roelf and Junaid Sait goals that saw them through. Gregory Roelf struck very early on prior to Junaid Sait ensuring his side secured fourth spot. Royal Eagles missed the opportunity of leapfrogging Highlands.
In a clash of former PSL teams between Amazulu and Santos, Siyabonga Nomvethe continued scoring for Amazulu. After a goal-less opening 45 minutes at the Princess Magogo Stadium, AmaZulu drew first blood when Siyabonga Nomvethe converted from the penalty spot in the 65th minute after a hand-ball in the box. But the Cape side were not to go home empty handed, Mhlengi Sigwebela leveling 15 minutes from time with a powerful left-footed effort that beat Sage Stephens.
The NFD rookies shared the spoils at Mthatha Stadium, Bucks did well to hold Mbombela. Cohen Stander gave Mbombela United the lead in the when he tapped in from close range. Moses Spandeel was then denied by visiting keeper Thato Xaba. But it was Spandeel who provided the assist for Amathol’anmyama’s equalizer, which came via Samkelo Ndletyana’s 39th minute header at the Mthatha Stadium in a game between the two rookies NFD clubs.
The draw was not ideal for either side as it meant Mbombela lost the chance to be on equal points with third placed Highlands Park. The results leaves Mbombela United at position six and Mthatha Bucs were drawn back into the relegation zone and are now second from the bottom.
In a relegation battle clash between Moroka Swallows and African Warriors was one of the game of the weekend. It was Warriors who made sure they get a win at all costs. African Warriors whipped Moroka Swallows 4-1 thanks to two goals each from Ange Lebahi and Mfundo Nsele. Boysen Mbatha registered the Birds’ solitary goal, the two sides having gone in to the break at 1-1 before Warriors secured the win in the second stanza.
Moroka Swallows have really struggled to make an impact and with ten games to go before the end of the season they are firm favorites to be relegated. The once-famous Birds look doomed but the five clubs above them are separated by just three points so it’s anybody’s guess as to who will go down.
In another relegation clash, FC Cape Town and Thanda Royal Zulu played out a goalless draw. This was Saturday’s only score-less game, both sides however picking up a valuable point in their respective quests to move clear of the drop zone, As well it was Thanda’s coach Roger Sekhakhane first game in charge
NFD Weekend Results
|Sunday, February 21, 2016|
|AmaZulu||1||–||1||Santos||Princess Magogo Stadium|
|Milano United AFC||2||–||0||Royal Eagles||Athlone Stadium|
|Mthatha Bucks||1||–||1||Mbombela United||Mthatha Stadium|
|Saturday, February 20, 2016|
|Cape Town All Stars||0||–||4||Baroka FC||Athlone Stadium|
|Highlands Park||2||–||0||Vasco Da Gama||Makhulong Stadium|
|Black Leopards||0||–||1||Witbank Spurs||Thohoyandou Stadium|
|FC Cape Town||0||–||0||Thanda Royal Zulu FC||NNK Rugby Stadium|
|African Warriors||4||–||1||Moroka Swallows||Charles Mopeli Stadium|
|National First Division|
|4||Milano United AFC||20||11||2||7||25||13||12||35|
|7||Cape Town All Stars||20||10||3||7||21||24||-3||33|
|11||FC Cape Town||20||5||4||11||21||35||-14||19|
|12||Thanda Royal Zulu FC||20||3||9||8||22||34||-12||18|
|13||Vasco Da Gama||20||4||6||10||16||29||-13||18|