Soccer season reaches business end

The PSL and Premier League campaigns are both set for epic conclusions, writes Ebrahim Moolla

Soccer fans of both Premier League and Premier Soccer League clubs are enjoying one of the most dramatic seasons in recent history. With a handful of games left to play, there are still no clear-cut answers when it comes to the question of who will win the titles or qualify for continental competition.

In the PSL, league leaders Wits completed a slender 1-0 win over Maritzburg United on Sunday, which saw them maintain a three-point gap over defending champions Sundowns, with three games left to play. Phumlani Ntshangase, who has been used sparingly this season by Gavin Hunt, gave the hosts the points with a second-half header in what was a nervy affair at Bidvest Stadium.

The Students face a titanic clash on the last day of the season against Kaizer Chiefs that could potentially see them denied a first PSL title. Sundowns, who have an easier run-in, have a superior goal difference and will be eager to take advantage of any slip-up. The Brazilians trounced Orlando Pirates 2-0 in Soweto, with the goals coming from Khama Billiat and Yannick Zakri, to take second place from this season’s surprise package Cape Town City. Sundowns host Baroka FC on Wednesday and still have CAF competition commitments.

In England, Chelsea will move to within striking distance of a title by beating relegation-threated Middleborough this evening, after rivals Tottenham were upset 1-0 away to West Ham on Friday, with Manuel Lanzini getting a scrappy winner just after the hour mark. The Blues will claim the championship before Spurs kick a ball in anger if they win tonight and beat West Brom on Friday.

Arsenal gave their hopes of a place in the Champions League a much-needed boost by breaking Manchester United’s 25-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, with a 2-0 triumph at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Arsene Wenger finally got one over nemesis Jose Mourinho in 14 attempts, with the goals coming from Granit Xhaka and former United striker Danny Welbeck in the second stanza. With Liverpool held to a goalless draw at home to Southampton earlier in the day, the Gunners will move to a point behind the third-placed Scousers provided they win their games in hand.