MTN8 semifinals: the Big Preview

It’s do or die this weekend as Kaizer Chiefs take on Bloemfontein Celtic and Bidvest Wits host Ajax Cape Town in the 2015 MTN8 second leg semi-finals.

Both of the first leg affairs ended in 1-1 stalemates, with Chiefs and Bidvest Wits each getting the away goals.

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 20H15: Kaizer Chiefs v Bloemfontein Celtic - FNB Stadium

A stunner of a long range drive by Helder Pelembe put Celtic 1-0 up after 33 minutes in the first leg, but a goal on the hour mark by Bernard Parker made amends for his earlier penalty miss and arguably put AmaKhosi in the driving seat for the return game.

A 0-0 draw would be enough to take AmaKhosi into the final, while a 1-1 score-line would take the match into extra time and penalties, Celtic still looking for their first victory over Chiefs in all competitions since 2009.

Victory for the Soweto side would keep them on track for a 16th top eight title, while Phunya Sele Sele have won the competition once before, in 2005.

In all competitions so far this season, Chiefs have 11 goals in five matches, conceding five, with two wins and three draws. Celtic meanwhile go in to the match boosted their first league win of the season, 1-0 against Orlando Pirates. Clinton Larsen’s men have won two of their five matches this season (including the penalty shoot-out win over Sundowns in the quarter-finals), losing once and drawing twice, scoring six goals and conceding six.

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 15H00: Bidvest Wits v Ajax Cape Town - Bidvest Stadium

The two sides will meet for the third time this season, the Clever Boys having won 2-1 in Johannesburg in the league before drawing 1-1 in the MTN8 first leg semi-final game in Stellenbosch. An 11th minute goal from Toriq Losper had given the Cape side the advantage, but the Students came storming back on a rainy evening to equalize through Henrico Botes’ poacher’s goal 15 minutes from time.

Ajax appear to be a side gaining in confidence, a 2-1 midweek win over Free State Stars taking the Cape team to second on the league standings, thanks to three goals in two matches from Prince Nxumalo. The Urban Warriors have won three and drawn one of their five outings this season, netting eight goals while Anssi Jaakkola has picked the ball out of his net five times.

The Clever Boys meanwhile secured a 2-0 midweek win over Maritzburg United to eradicate the memory of a 4-2 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend. Their record this season in all competitions is three wins, one draw and one defeat, with 10 goals scored and seven conceded.

Ajax, back in the MTN8 for the first time in five seasons, have never won the competition, their best showing coming in 2009 when they made it to the final, only to lose 6-0 to Golden Arrows.

The Students have won the top eight competition twice, the last occasion being in 1995 when they beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-0.