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Shabba v Cheeseboy - A Tale Of Two Maestros

Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns will meet on Saturday (April 5) in a fascinating top-of-the-table clash at FNB Stadium.

The encounter could potentially open up the PSL title race, one way or another. A victory for the Glamour Boys, and they would move six points clear - an almost unassailable position with so few matches left to go in the current campaign.

A triumph for the Brazilians and suddenly the title race could go down to the wire - both outfits will be tied on points and suddenly it's anyone's title to play for.

In big games such as this where both teams often cancel each other out with their craft and quality, it's often the turn of a star performer to produce a moment of magic and win a game on their own.

Based on current form, it appears Chiefs' Siphiwe Tshabalala and Downs' Lebohang Mokoena are two such maestros who have the skill and creativity to produce some magic.

'Shabba' has been in particularly creative mood this season - his deliveries have led to some of the close to 15 goals from set-pieces that Chiefs have scored. His curled and whipped delivery gives towering defenders like Eric Mathoho and Tefu Mashamaite every chance to get their head on things and score.

However, his attacking midfield counterpart at Downs, Mokoena, seems to be a man on a mission. After close to a two-year period in which he's seen little action largely due to injury, 'Cheeseboy' has been a man on fire in recent matches.

Our exclusive Soccer Laduma stats outline the kind of deadly attacking threat the player has to offer - the skilful midfielder in his last five matches has bagged three goals and one assist.

Whereas, Tshabalala in the same amount of time has tallied two assists and no goals. What's interesting is that 'Shabba' has made far more succesful final third and penalty area entries during this period, yet it's 'Cheeseboy' who has shown more potency.

Chiefs' maestro has averaged 12 successful final third entries, as well as 11.6 penalty area incursions. Meanwhile, Mokoena has made just four successful final third penetrations, and 4.4 penalty box breaches.

What this evidence shows is that Downs' attacking midfielder is getting less ball to work with than 'Shabba' in advanced danger areas, although his impressive goal return shows he has been extremely clinical with the possession he has got.

In other words, Tshabalala has been busier in trying to influence Chiefs' play in the attacking third, while 'Cheeseboy' has been absolutely clinical for Downs in burying the chances that are coming his way.

It all sets up for what could be a cracker of an affair in this weekend's top-of-the-table clash. On the one hand, you've got the busy and irrepressible Tshabalala trying to open up Downs' defence with his educated left foot.

On the other, you've got the massively talented Mokoena out to prove why he has always been labelled one of the most talented players Mzansi has produced. Factor in that both are in form and will no doubt be out to steal the show, and you can see why Saturday's encounter is so eagerly anticipated. 

It's a tale of two maestros - 'Shabba' v 'Cheeseboy' - and only time will tell who will come out on top! 

The action will get underway from 20h15 at the Calabash in Johannesburg. 

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