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Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United

COMMENT: Six points adrift of Orlando Pirates but the PSL title is still Mamelodi Sundowns' to lose

6:21 pm AEST 18/4/19
Andile Jali, Lebohang Maboe, Hlompho Kekana & Anele Ngcongca, Sundowns, February 2019
Despite defeat to Matsatsantsa, Masandawana still have everything to play for in the race for PSL supremacy

Six points adrift of Premier Soccer League (PSL) Orlando Pirates and with five games to go, Mamelodi Sundowns’ grasp on the league title seems to be loosening... but is this really the case?

While Sundowns tasted their first defeat in the Tshwane Derby since 2013 as SuperSport United walked away as 2-0 winners on Wednesday night, this does seem like a small blot on the Tshwane giant’s campaign.

After all, it was only their fourth defeat this season - last season they tasted six defeats and still went on to win the league title.

As Mosimane often says, 'games in hand are not points in the bag', and while this is true, there is still a psychological advantage which Downs enjoy.

Sundowns still have two more games in hand which are a potential further six points and could close the gap on Pirates, and it is also important to note that Sundowns' next two games are against two sides desperate to avoid a relegation scrap in Baroka and Chippa United.

However, while the task will be difficult, winning is surely not impossible especially when considered that none of Sundowns’ final five opponents are in the top eight currently.

This is heavily contrasting to Pirates' remaining matches as they travel to Pietermaritzburg to take on strugglers Maritzburg United, before ending off the season with clashes against the high-flying Cape Town City and impressive Polokwane City.

Although Sundowns are still far behind the leaders, it seems that they are still in pole position to win the title, but it all depends on Sundowns head coach keeping his players fresh and playing it smart.

Mosimane rested top scorer Lebohang Maboe, who is the club’s top scorer in the league and his absence showed as Phakamani Mahlambi and Emiliano Tade failed to have the same impact as the 24-year-old.

Maboe will now be a lot fresher and along with Gaston Sirino, who will be raring to go after missing Sundowns’ last two league games through suspension, the bullish playmaker will be determined to hit the ground running.

The stars are certainly slowly aligning and one thing Mosimane knows how to do, is win ugly when need be and that’s exactly what is demanded.

At this advanced stage in the league, it does not matter how the Brazilians win as long as they are able to pick up the three points.

So, while Sundowns may see themselves as having their backs to the wall, it is not the case just yet and the league is still very much Sundowns’ to lose.   

The only worry for the defending PSL champions is the sanctions that they could face following the guilty verdict, and it is perhaps best that they learn their fate soon, so they are able to plan for their final few games and know how much it will hurt their chances, but for now, Sundowns are still very much in it to win it.