SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates

SuperSport United will no doubt hope to continue their recent improvement in form when they take on out-of-form Orlando Pirates in Wednesday's Premiership clash at Mbombela Stadium.

SuperSport come into the clash having won two league matches in a row though they did lose to Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup.

However, the club appear to have stabilised after boss Stanley Matthews issued an ultimatum to the squad that either they improve or be shipped out at the end of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Sea Robbers are winless in their last five games in all competitions during which time they've managed a paltry three goals.

With that said, the side have enjoyed an extended rest following a hectic recent run of matches both domestically and in the CAF Champions League.

As such, Pirates legend Thabo Mngomeni is adamant his former team need the win.

He told Goal: "I think the Buccaneers must not focus on what happened in their last two league games.

"I know they are under pressure to get maximum points and remain at the top, but they have a chance on Wednesday.

"They just have to handle the pressure and that is where the technical team comes in to help manage the nerves because it is very important they go out and beat SuperSport."

In team news, Teboho Mokoena is out with suspension for the hosts but George Lebese may start. Pirates are virtually full strength but have five players on three yellow cards.

Comitis: It will all depend on Teko Modise

Cape Town City boss John Comitis says playmaker Teko Modise can finish his career with the club if he in fact chooses to do so.

Modise's contract with City is set to end in June and as yet he has made no indication of what his intentions are.

Nonetheless, Comitis says the Citizens are keen to keep the former Bafana Bafana star even beyond his playing days.

Speaking to Kickoff, he said: "Teko's contract with the club is coming to an end in June.

"We are in discussion with him for a way forward.

"We are open with Teko if he wants to finish his career here. It will all depend on him.

"We would like to keep Teko even beyond his playing career at Cape Town City."

Meanwhile, captain Thamsanqa Mkhize is set for a longer stay in the Mother City.

Comitis concluded: "Mkhize has one more year on his contract. We're talking, we will definitely renew his contract."

Leg fracture and meniscus tear for Nodada and Putsche at City

Cape Town City will be without the services of Thabo Nodada and Roland Putsche for the remainder of the season after they were injured against Highlands Park.

Nodada and Putsche were both involved in some heavy tackles in last weekend's Nedbank Cup last-16 tie, and subsequently will play no part in the rest of the campaign.

Putsche came off first for Teko Modise in the 16th minute before Nodada followed in the 66th minute.

The club expressed their disappointment at the injury blow and lamented the quality of officiating in the Premiership.

The side's official Twitter account said: "Thabo Nodada has suffered a right leg fracture, and Roland Putsche a meniscus tear.

"We wish both a speedy recovery and stress repeated concern over the unpunished violent conduct in the PSL."

PSG is keen on Wesley Moraes' services - 19/02

Lebese to be a sub v Pirates and starts v Baroka

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo says George Lebese will feature as a substitute against Orlando Pirates but will start against Baroka.

Lebese joined SuperSport in the January transfer window after being frozen out at Mamelodi Sundowns.

The former Kaizer Chiefs star did not make a single appearance for the Brazilians in 2018/19.

The talented left-winger made his debut against Golden Arrows on 10 February as a sub in a 3-2 win.

SSU face Pirates at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday (19:30) before tackling Bakgaga at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday (20:15).

Tembo said: "I think we are all well aware what George can give in terms of his quality. He is a big player, he has played for Chiefs and Sundowns, so it says a lot about his quality as a player.

"We are aware that he has not been played for the past six to seven months, but I'm really happy and motivated with his attitude towards training.

"It takes a lot for him to decide to leave a team like Sundowns and 'I want to go out there and play football' and that's very key. He has come in and he had able to gel with the team. He looks happy and that's very key for us as well.

He concluded: "We are still trying to build his match fitness and I think against Pirates he will play a role. I think by the time we play Baroka he will be ready to start."

Middendorp backs Vries to overcome boo-boys at Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp believes that goalkeeper Virgil Vries can overcome the boo-boys following a poor spell of form for the club.

Vries has made a number of catastrophic errors this season after he was selected to replace Itumeleng Khune in goal.

Khune is out injured for the rest of the season with a shoulder concern.

The Glamour Boys were forced to bring in Daniel Akpeyi during the January transfer window for Vries, such was the lack of confidence the team had in the shot-stopper.

During the win over The Magic FC last weekend in the Nedbank Cup, the Namibia international was booed as he warmed up on the sidelines.

Middendorp said:"I'm really not focusing on booing players, my job is to coach the club. Supporters are there to express their emotions and they have the right to do so.

"I don't think it will kill his confidence, we are talking about a national team player for Namibia here, he has to bounce back and perform again."

Chiefs are next in action on Saturday when they take on Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Pietersburg.

Benni: Erasmus fits perfectly into the system

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy believes Kermit Erasmus is a perfect fit for the team's playing system though he wants the forward to get more protection from referees.

City have been in a rich vein of scoring form in recent matches as they have managed 11 goals in their last five appearances.

With that said, Erasmus is yet to get off the mark for the Mother City-based outfit and missed a penalty in the recent 1-0 defeat to AmaZulu.

However, he did produce a commendable performance in the recent 3-0 win over Highlands Park in a Nedbank Cup last-16 tie.

Speaking to reporters, Erasmus said: "Kermit is beautiful to watch, his low sense of gravity and how the balls just sticks and how he fits into this puzzle, he fits perfectly into the system.

"At times I feel that he doesn't get protected enough because he does get a hammering and today that big central defender was all over him but the play was continuing and Kermit was on the floor and every time he kept asking for protection from the officials.

"But it does get frustrating when a player gets hammered and injured and it's just, the play is continued?

"I would rather protect my players because I don't want injuries. But he has been fantastic, another shining light is having Shaka back, he looked hungry and looked in beast mode."

Vukusic: Sundowns are very motivated

Polokwane City coach Jozef Vukusic believes Mamelodi Sundowns are highly motivated ahead of Tuesday's Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

Sundowns have not been in action since losing 3-1 to Maritzburg United on 8 February but Vukusic has since revealed he has worked hard on the team in key problem areas. Kickoff is from 19:30.

A victory could see the Brazilians go top of the table whereas Rise and Shine need some points to get back into the fight for a top eight finish.

Speaking to Kickoff, he said: "We are ready for the game I think. So all players are fit, we have no injured players and we know which game we have to expect.

"They are very motivated, they didn't play after Champions League as well [over the weekend]. So I hope for a very good game from both sides.

"They are there top, they have the highest ambition, it's the champion so for us it's a good challenge for my team, especially after last game and good motivation that game."

Burnley need to up offer to land striker target

Burnley will have to double their offer for Che Adams if they are to have any chance of landing the Birmingham City striker. 

Clarets boss Sean Dyche is a huge fan of the striker, who has scored goals for fun in the Championship for Blues, and is reported to have failed with a number of bids in January. 

Reports claim that the Clarets got as high as £9million, but that still fell well short of Birmingham’s valuation, considering he has fired home 19 goals so far this season. 

The ex-Sheffield United striker has become hot property after going on a goalscoring run that saw him come within a whisker of equalling a record set by Birmingham legend Trevor Francis. 

Adams found the net in six consecutive matches until he fired a blank in last Tuesday night’s defeat by Bolton, although it took a fine save by Remi Matthews at the death to deny him. 

That match that was watched by scouts from several Premier League clubs and Burnley will face a battle to land the striker, even if they were willing to match the £18million valuation in the summer. 

Scottish champions Celtic, Manchester United, Arsenal, Southampton and Watford all had scouts present, with Adams the player under the microscope.

Morocco international offered new Wolves deal

Wolves have offered midfielder Romain Saiss a new contract in an attempt to put an end to all the rumours surrounding his future. 

The Morocco international has struggled to command a regular place in the starting eleven this season, but has impressed when given a chance by boss Nuno Espirito Santo. 

So much so, a number of clubs, including Atletico Madrid, are said to be monitoring his contract situation with a view to launching a summer move. 

There has even been talk of a club from Saudi Arabia offering him huge money to leave Molineux, and it appears to have sparked Wolves into action. 

The 28-year-old still has 18 months remaining on his current deal and Wolves are now keen to secure his future by getting him tied down to new improved terms. 

Saiss, who have made 18 appearances in total this season, five from the bench, now has a decision to make. 

Pen fresh terms and battle for his place or move elsewhere in search of more regular first-team action. 

Lakay joined Students due to money, says Tembo

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo has suggested that forward Fagrie Lakay moved to Bidvest Wits in the January transfer window due to money.

Reports emerged last month that Lakay would sign a pre-contract with the Clever Boys and then make a move to the Gavin Hunt-coached outfit at the end of 2018/19.

However, both sides decided to make a move happen in January as Mxolisi Macuphu went the other way on a loan deal.

21-year-old Lakay is regarded as one of South African football's brightest prospects and has been tipped for a stellar career with Bafana Bafana as well.

The player had played seven times for United prior to his switch to Wits, but is yet to make his debut for his new team.

Tembo told reporters: "With Fagrie it had to do with contractual challenges. I think he decided to move because probably he was offered more, you know how it is.

"His contract was coming to an end and we could not do anything to stop him. It was his decision and we have got to move on from that."

United are set to face Orlando Pirates on Wednesday night at Mbombela Stadium. Kickoff is 19:30.

Pogba stars as United see off defending champs Chelsea in FA Cup

Manchester United dumped holders Chelsea out of the FA Cup with an impressive 2-0 fifth-round win at Stamford Bridge.

United came into the fixture knowing they had lost their previous four FA Cup meetings against Chelsea, including last season’s final at Wembley, and seeing their unbeaten record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ended by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last week.

However, they enjoyed an impressive first half and went into the break with what turned out to be an unassailable two-goal lead thanks to respective headers from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba.

Chelsea tried to put United under the cosh throughout the second half, but never really looked like preventing the Red Devils from booking their place in the quarter-finals as the pressure continues to mount on Blues boss Maurizio Sarri.

Chelsea boasted five changes from the Europa League win against Malmo on Thursday as Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard and Gonzaolo Higuain replaced Andreas Christensen, Emerson, Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud and Willian.

Sergio Romero, Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku came in for David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial in four changes to the Manchester United side which lost 2-0 to PSG in Europe.

United just about edged the opening 10 minutes, but Chelsea had the first effort of note in the 12th minute when David Luiz’s 25-yard free-kick was palmed away by Romero and Pedro’s follow-up attempt was well blocked before United’s custodian managed to gather.

Moments later Hazard flashed a curling effort just wide of the United goal, before the visitors had their first serious attempt on target with Herrera’s fierce effort on 15 minutes parried away by the diving Kepa Arrizabalaga.

On 18 minutes, Cesar Azpilicueta put a cross into the area and Higuain sent a glancing header wide when he should have at least hit the target.

However, it was United who drew first blood just after the half-hour mark when Mata played the ball out wide to Pogba who lifted an inch-perfect cross onto the head of Herrara and the Spaniard guided his downward header into the bottom corner of Kepa’s goal.

Chelsea looked to respond in the remainder of the half, but it was United who grabbed the second goal of the evening on the stroke of half-time when Marcos Rashford’s cross from the right dropped perfectly to Pogba and his diving header beat Kepa from 10 yards.

United were fortunate not to be reduced to ten men on 52 minutes when Nemanja Matic fouled Kante in the middle of the pitch, but referee Kevin Friend was lenient in not producing a second yellow card of the evening to the Serbian.

Chelsea continued to press in search of an equaliser and it took an excellent block from Luke Shaw to prevent Pedro getting a chance to score after he was played in down the right of the United box by Kante on 56 minutes.

Shaw collided with Romero during the challenge and both required treatment before being able to continue.

On 65 minutes, Hazard cut inside the area from the right channel and looked a certainty to hit the target, only for Victor Lindelof to get enough of a block on the shot to divert the ball over his own crossbar.

Wits advance on penalties over Leopards

Bidvest Wits used penalties to get past Black Leopards to secure a place in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals on Monday evening.

Leopards coach Dylan Kerr utilised the same starting line-up from the abandoned match, while Granwald Scott, Deon Hotto, Elias Pelembe, Gift Motupa and Simon Murray were picked by Wits.

Wits' edgy start needed the goalkeeping skill of Ricardo Goss to keep out Marks Munyai's close-range shot on just before the 20th minute mark.

Just before the break, Gift Motupa headed home from Elias Pelembe's cross as Lidoda Duvha's defence switched off.

Murray nearly made it 2-0 soon afterwards but headed just wide from Vuyo Mere's cross.

After the break, Wits looked to increase the advantage when Murray flashed a header wide of the post off Pelembe's supply.

With a quarter of the match remaining, coach Gavin Hunt looked to shore up the game with the substitution of versatile Keegan Ritchie for Motupa.

With that said, the Limpopo-based outfit equalised ten minutes to the final whistle when Mwape Musonda rose high to head past goalkeeper Goss, sending the match to dreaded extra time.

Musonda missed a sitter in the closing stages as it went to penalties.

Following two penalties apiece, Kapinga shot over the crossbar saw the Students' march to the next round.

UEFA Champions League preview: Liverpool v Bayern Munich

In what is arguably the premier tie of the UEFA Champions League last 16, Liverpool play host to Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday night.

While these two sides boast 10 Champions League/European Cup titles between them, they've never met since competition's rebranding in 1992.

The previous time they met in a two-legged tie was in the European Cup semifinal in 1981, when the Mersysiders triumphed on the away goals rule following a 1-1 draw in Germany.

Friendly encounters aside, their most recent meeting was in the 2001 UEFA Super Cup, where Liverpool walked away with the laurels following a 3-2 victory.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is no stranger to German opposition, having won the Bundesliga twice during his tenure with Borussia Dortmund, the tie will be his counterpart Niko Kovac's first against English opposition.

The form guide suggests that there's little between these two sides: both are in second place in their respective leagues, while suffering one defeat in their last six matches.

In Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have a devastating front three, but question marks remain at the back. The Reds will be without star defender Virgil van Dijk for the match due to suspension, while Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees. As such, Fabinho looks set to start alongside Joel Matip in the heart of the defense.

I think you can see how important he [Van Dijk] is for us as a team,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson told the media.

I think we’ve got enough quality to replace him. It’s up to the whole team to help us defend.”

The Reds received a boost with the return of regular right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who returned to the side in their recent 3-0 win over Bournemouth. Elsewhere, former Bayern ace Xherdan Shaqiri is a doubt with an abdominal strain.

Bayern have their own issues due to injuries and suspension: defender Jerome Boateng hasn't travelled due to gastrointestinal problems, Arjen Robben has a thigh injury, Thomas Muller is suspended and Kingsley Coman is a doubt after limping off during Friday night's 3-2 victory over Augsburg.

It looks positive, he's a bit better. We'll see, we have 36 hours left. I can't give a final statement yet", Kovac told the media when asked about Coman.

Liverpool's front three are expected to run amok against the Bayern defense, where veteran Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule should be tasked to keep the hosts quiet. If the centre-backs aren't able to track the movement of the Salah-Mane-Firmino triumvirate, the German champions could be in for a long night.

However, in Robert Lewandowski Bayern have one of the most prolific strikers of the century and against a make-shift backline, the Pole may just keep the visitors in the tie.



Mourinho drops PSG hint

Jose Mourinho has hinted he would like to become Paris Saint-Germain manager by saying he can imagine himself working in Ligue 1.

The former Manchester United boss has previously been linked with the French giants who have dominated their domestic game in recent years, winning the title in five of the last six seasons.

Thomas Tuchel is currently in charge at the Parc des Princes but, like many of the club’s recent managers, he is likely to be judged by their Qatari owners on how PSG perform in the Champions League and they won 2-0 at Old Trafford in last week’s last-16, first leg tie.

"I can imagine myself as a coach in Ligue 1," Mourinho told beIN Sports.

"I am a man who has worked in four different countries. I like to know other cultures. Working in a new championship would be a fantastic experience."

With PSG the country’s only realistic Champions League contenders at present, it is widely felt the capital club would be Mourinho’s destination should he manage in France.

The 56-year-old was sacked by Manchester United in December after two-and-a-half years in charge.

Solskjaer still showing faith in Sanchez

Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the struggling Alexis Sanchez still has that x-factor.

The Chilean was ruthless at former club Arsenal, netting 24 goals in the 2016/2017 season and proving himself one of then-manager Arsene Wenger’s key men. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his form at United, where he bagged just three goals in 26 appearances.

"I think he is a very good player,” the Norwegian told Sky Sports.

“He is very talented but of course there is only so many things you can sit down and talk about and tweak.

"You saw against Fulham, when he gets his chance, he is so sharp in and around the ball with the way he wins it and with his energy.

"If he could just get that goal, I am sure that would release some of his confidence. That is what it is about when you go through periods when you do not perform up to your standard. We know there is a very, very good player there. It is just like a bottle of ketchup when it never comes but suddenly loads comes out."

Sanchez’ lack of goals has seen him fall behind the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in the pecking order at the club.

Nigerian striker shown to the exit door by Chippa United

Chippa United have opted against signing Nigerian striker Oke Akpoveta after he spent the last few weeks on trial with the Chilli Boys.

Akpoveta has a reasonable goal-scoring record in Europe and managed 21 goals in 53 appearances in Sweden. His most recent side was Helsingborgs in that country.

Nonetheless, the forward has failed to win over Clinton Larsen and his technical team and he won't be offered a contract in Port Elizabeth.

A source told Kickoff: "He is not a bad player, it's just that he also arrived at a time when the team is concentrating on surviving relegation and the attention is on the league. He might be invited again in June."

Chippa have two more recognizable strikers in their squad in the form of Lerato and Rhulani Manzini, with the latter out with an injury.

According to a club official, Chippa have not ruled out the possibility of inviting Akpoveta back for another chance to train with the team when they re-open for pre-season training.

Chippa appear to be finding consistency under Larsen as they defeated Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila 2-0 on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup.

Loftus-Cheek pushing for Chelsea involvement

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be available for Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash at home to Manchester United.

The England international missed the Europa League tie in Malmo on Thursday due to an ongoing back problem and he will require a late fitness test to prove his himself in time for the match at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola has revealed that several unnamed first-team players will be assessed ahead of the game, although he confirmed a ‘very strong’ starting XI will be named.

Left-back Marcos Alonso was rested for the European encounter and he is expected to return, whilst Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain are all set to be recalled after being demoted to the bench against Malmo.

English forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, who continues to be linked with a move to Bayern Munich, may also be handed a chance to impress as the Blues try to persuade him to stay at the club.

Black Leopards v Bidvest Wits

Black Leopards have reportedly been warned by the Premier Soccer League that they could lose Thohoyandou Stadium should the venue be unplayable.

The PSL raised concerns about using the stadium for the Nedbank Cup last-16 clash against Bidvest Wits on Monday.

Last Wednesday the match against the Clever Boys was abandoned following a torrential downpour.

Leopards were leading 1-0 at the time of the abandonment though Monday's replay will re-start from 0-0 and a full 90 minutes has to be played.

However, Soccer Laduma report that the league recommended a different venue be used due to a worrying weather forecast.

In addition, Thohoyandou was used for an ANC rally in Venda over the weekend. Lidoda Duvha management said they would cover the pitch to protect it while a stage was erected off the playing surface so as to not damage it.

The publication's source said: "The PSL has asked for pictures that this was all done as proof, the league doesn't want any embarrassment."

Should the game be called off on Monday evening, Leopards would lose the right to use Thohoyandou Stadium as their home ground.

In team news, Leopards still have both Khuliso Mudau and Pentjie Zulu missing for the replay. Meanwhile, Deon Hotto and Gift Motupa return for the Students. Kickoff is 18:00.

FA Cup preview: Chelsea v Manchester United

It's a repeat of last year's FA Cup final when Chelsea host Manchester United in a massive fifth-round clash at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Last season, it was Antonio Conte's Blues who beat Jose Mourinho's Red Devils 1-0 to lift the FA Cup trophy for the eighth time, but that result should have little bearing on Monday night's game, considering both Conte and Mourinho have since been relieved of their positions.

Chelsea currently find themselves in a mini-crisis, with current boss Maurizio Sarri finding himself under big pressure after a series of bad results.

The Blues have lost their last three Premier League away games by a combined 12 goals, a 2-0 loss at Arsenal and a 4-0 capitulation at Bournemouth followed by a crushing 6-0 defeat against Man City.

The Londoners did respond with a 2-1 victory in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie at Malmo in midweek, but that doesn't mean Sarri is out of the woods yet by any means.

Meanwhile, Manchester United finally suffered their first big failure under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when they suffered a 2-0 loss at home against PSG last week, all but ending their hopes of advancing in the competition.

It has led to the first question marks around Solskjaer's suitability for the long-term manager job at Old Trafford, with some starting to question whether he has the necessary experience to handle the really big games.

Monday night's match against Chelsea, then, provides the Norwegian with the opportunity to show he can handle the big moments just as well as the smaller ones.

Unfortunately for Solskjaer, however, he will have to without the services of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, both of whom picked up injuries against PSG, while Alexis Sanchez is also a doubt.

Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo also remain sidelined, but Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will be pushing for recalls.

For Chelsea, Ruben Loftus-Cheek missed the game against Malmo with a back problem, while centre-back Gary Cahill is also nursing an injury.

Up front, Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain look set to be recalled after sitting out against Malmo, with Olivier Giroud likely set to make way.