It has been one of the most thrilling title chases in recent years as Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs both looked to bring back the glory days, but despite their best efforts, the soweto giants would fall short of the elusive crown, and Goal looks at where the PSL title was won and lost over the course of the league season.
On closer inspection of the league campaign which is reaching its conclusion, it is easy to see what set Sundowns apart from the rest of the chasing pack, and that is consistency. Sundowns won 18 of their 29 games, drawing five and losing just six, and while they did stutter at the beginning of the season, their run of 12 games without defeat since the beginning of 2018 is where they earned the right to be called champions.
However, it is also important to note that even during Sundowns’ stuttering start, they were not losing games and continued to pick up points, albeit at a very slow rate. This compared to Sundowns’ other rivals is certainly what held them in good stead.
Sundowns also scored a mammoth 49 goals in 29 games. This is severely contrasting to Chiefs in particular, whose lack of firepower upfront was evident in the fact that they only managed 25 goals, leading them to draw an unimpressive 12 games.
Although, Chiefs were not losing, they drew more games than they actually won, and that is primarily the reason for their downfall. Had they converted those draws into wins they could easily have walked away with the league title.
This is perhaps something to consider when Amakhosi begin to plan for next season and head into the transfer market with a new coach at the helm.
Meanwhile, Pirates’ PSL run may have been a breath of fresh air this season when considering their recent struggles, but when they look back at their season, they will know that the period between September and December is where they let the ball slip, registering just a single win in 10 games.
Considering, that Pirates had no Caf football that could be a worry, but could also mean that the players took slightly longer to buy into coach Milutin Sredojevic’s game plan.
Nonetheless, while Pirates remained in the contest, Sundowns’ quality shone through throughout the season, and perhaps if there was one notable difference in the Tshwane giants’ campaign, it was the form of one man, Percy Tau. The 23-year-old singlehandedly at times carried Sundowns’ hopes bagging 11 goals in the process.
The effect of Tau cannot be understated, but Sundowns four main attackers in Tau, Themba Zwane, Khama Billiat and Sibusiso Vilakazi also played a huge role. The quartet contributed 31 goals and this clearly shows why they are PSL champions.
Compare that to the 24 goals they have conceded and it easy to figure out just why they walked away with the league title so convincingly, and why Sundowns have earned the respect of everyone within the South African football fraternity.