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Sundowns-Wits clash headlines weekend Absa Premiership action

South Africa's The increasingly intriguing Absa Premiership continues this weekend with a full round of fixtures, including table-topping Bidvest Wits' trip to current champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday.

Wits returned to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cape Town City on Tuesday, putting behind them an iffy few weeks that included a surprise 1-0 home loss to 10-man Polokwane City.

Scottish striker Simon Murray bagged a brace in that game, though one was a highly dubious penalty, and his emergence as a threat in front of goal is crucial for a Wits side that has had problems in the opposition box in recent seasons - even as they were crowned league champions in the 2016/17 campaign.

"Please God! Come back after 30 games and I'll tell you," Wits coach Gavin Hunt told the press when asked if Murray was the answer to their woes.

"But we signed him to score. I've always said that if you can find a striker who can get you around 12 goals and above in a season, then you've got a chance to win the league."

Murray has had a quiet start to life at Wits after arriving from Hibernian in his homeland, brought on slowly by Hunt as he adjusts to the South African game.

"It's different up on the Highveld because the ball doesn't come on and I knew it would be better for him in Cape Town because it is similar to where he comes from in terms of the weather and that kind of stuff," Hunt said of his decision to give Murray a start.

The coach will hope that the physically strong forward can repeat the dose against Sundowns, who themselves have been surprisingly shy in front of goal.

The Brazilians have netted just five goals in their last eight games, and three of those came in the 3-3 draw with AmaZulu last month.

They were held goalless again in midweek by Bloemfontein Celtic, though they had enough chances in the game to come away with maximum points.

Kaizer Chiefs are back in action with a behind-closed-doors 'home' game against Polokwane City in Durban on Saturday, part of their punishment for fan misbehavior after the Nedbank Cup semifinal loss to Free State Stars in April.

Chiefs were fortunate to come away with a point in their midweek clash at Highlands Park on Wednesday, and come up against a City side who look reborn under Serbian coach Jozef Vukušič.

The Limpopo club have taken 11 points from the last 15 available and in midweek battled back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with SuperSport United.

Chiefs' draw ended their run of three straight victories that earned Giovanni Solinas the Coach of the Month prize for September, and Khama Billiat the Player of the Month.

Orlando Pirates will also be in Durban on Saturday when they travel to the King Zwelithini Stadium to face AmaZulu.

The Buccaneers drew a blank in their 0-0 home draw with Lamontville Golden Arrows on Wednesday, and in truth never really looked like getting more than the point.

They come up against another organised side in Usuthu, who sit bottom of the table, but only because of a six-point deduction imposed on them by FIFA.

Other matches on Saturday see a provincial derby when ailing Free State Stars host Celtic in Bethlehem, while Highlands Park entertain improving Chippa United, who have seen their fortunes change under new coach Eric Tinkler.

There are two other matches on Sunday as well as struggling Baroka FC host SuperSport, while Highlands Park welcome Black Leopards in a battle between the two promoted sides.

The weekend action gets underway on Friday night though as Maritzburg United host Cape Town City, who will hope to have shed the hangover of winning the MTN8 six days ago and are likely to be back to full-strength after their meek midweek loss to Wits.   


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