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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The fight to the top of the Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) is intensifying with each passing week as only a point separate the top two teams - Sidama Coffee and Saint George. 
Game week seventeen will witness an exciting encounter that will determine if there will be changes to the top of the EPL table as Sidama Coffee entertain Arba Minch City in the South Derby and Saint George take on Defense in Addis Ababa Derby.
Sidama’s four points lead to the top of the table was cut to just one point after drawing with Dashen Beer in Gondar last week. St. George capitalized on the leader’s slip with a 3-1 victory against Welayta Dicha. 
Sidama will be tested this week with another tough derby match against Arba Minch but they would be relying on a much needed home support from their fans to maintain their long grip to the top of the table. The match on Sunday will also be difficult for Arba Minch who are currently sitting at eighth with a ten points gap with the leaders. Arba Minch come into this match after last week’s home disappointment losing 1-0 to Defense. The last time the two teams met was in December last year during the first round of the EPL, but neither side came on top as the match ended in a goalless draw.
Meanwhile, Saint George will hope to continue mounting the pressure against Sidama. The horsemen are under a new management after sacking Brazilian coach Naider dos Santos following a 2-0 defeat against Hawassa City in Game Week 15. Current coach Fasil Tekalegn saw an instant success with a win against tough opponent Wolayta at Abebe Bikila Stadium and he will hope to continue on his winning ways.
“We need to dominate all our next matches and bring back the Saint George of the past. I hope we will regain the lead and become champions at the end of the campaign,” St. George coach  Fasil told The Reporter.
For Defense, a win means they will be firmly in contention for the fight in the championship.  Neither side came on top during the first round clash between the two teams as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Elsewhere, Ethiopia Coffee will face Dashen Beer on Monday, April 6, 2015 in Addis Ababa Stadium. Coffee came to third with 27 points after a late win against Electric last week. With the top two teams having tough games this week, Ethiopia Coffee will hope to narrow the five points gap with a win against Dashen. But a loss for Dashen spells doom for the team as they linger the relegation zone.