Three-way fight for SA Cup final spots

Friday’s clashes in Bloemfontein and Nelspruit will be crucial in determining the two finalists of the SA Cup as the last round of group matches unfold.

The top four teams are battling it out, and the two finalists – as well as the venue for the match – will emerge by day’s end. Griquas, leading the table, will square off against the fourth-placed Cheetahs, while the Pumas, holding the second spot, will take on the Griffons, who sit in third place.

The Free Staters host their neighbours from the Northern Cape in a critical encounter where the home side – who can’t make the final anymore – will aim to upset the team at the top of the standings and in the process do the Pumas a massive favour.

Should the Cheetahs win and Griquas any log points, the Pumas can still finish at the top of the log. However, victory or a draw for the Peacock Blues will secure them a home final, and they will look to seal the deal and give their supporters something to look forward to on the last weekend in May.

In the other match on Friday, which kicks off an hour later, the Pumas will host the Griffons in a showdown where victory could catapult either team into title contention. Both teams, having lost just one league game each, understand the significance of this encounter.

Should Griquas stumble, victory for the Pumas will see the two teams finish on the same number of log points, and the points’ difference of only three points will then come into play, but it’s so small, that the win should secure a home final for the team from Mpumalanga.

Only one log point behind the Pumas, the team from the Northern Free State will look to showcase their talents and book a spot in the final, but the Griffons will know that victory is the only way forward for them.

On Saturday, the action continues with two matches. Firstly, the SWD Eagles, positioned sixth, will host the Leopards, currently in ninth place, at Outeniqua Park, where both teams are locked in a battle for a mid-table finish.

Meanwhile, the Boland Kavaliers will clash with Eastern Province in Piketberg. The Gqeberha-based side seeks to climb two places on the log and finish sixth, just one position behind Boland, who are guaranteed to remain in fifth place regardless of the outcome.

Wrapping up the week’s fixtures, the Border Bulldogs will square off against Valke, aiming to conclude their season on a positive note and secure valuable points. Sharing 13 log points with the Eagles and Eastern Province, they also harbour hopes of achieving a sixth-place finish.

SA Cup fixtures:

Friday, 17 May
Cheetahs vs Griquas, Shimla Park, Bloemfontein, 6pm
Pumas vs Griffons, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, 7pm

Saturday, 18 May
SWD Eagles vs Leopards, Outeniqua Park, George, 2:30pm
Boland Kavaliers vs Eastern Province, Rhino Park, Piketberg, 3pm

Sunday, 19 May
Border Bulldogs vs Valke, Police Park, East London, 2pm

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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