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COMMENT: How Sundowns should manage the pressure from Orlando Pirates

2:10 PM EDT 4/16/19
Lebohang Maboe, Sundowns & Happy Jele, Orlando Pirates, April 2019
Goal takes a look at how the Brazilians can manage the pressure from the Buccaneers as the 2018-19 season approaches its business end

This season's Premier Soccer League (PSL) title race looks set to go down to the wire as Mamelodi Sundowns look to retain the trophy.

The Tshwane giants, who have three games in hand, are placed second on the league standings and they still hold the destiny of the title in their own hands.

Current log leaders, Orlando Pirates, who are six points ahead of Sundowns, have shown their title credentials in recent weeks and they won't back down without a fight.

But how can Sundowns manage the pressure from the four-time PSL champions?

The Brazilians' title charge has slowed down in recent weeks having only won two matches in their last five league games.

The cause for Sundowns' decline in form has been their inability to convert the many chances that they create week in and week out.

Pitso Mosimane's side has netted three times in their last four games, including the goalless draws against Bloemfontein Celtic and Pirates.

The best way for Sundowns to cope with the pressure from Pirates at this stage is to score goals.

Complacency can be another major pitfall for the Tshwane giants, who showed it during last month's defeat to Cape Town City.

The Brazilians were leading 1-0 at the interval, but they switched off in the second half and the Citizens fought back to secure a 2-1 victory.

They cannot afford to such slips up if they are to go on to clinch a record-extending ninth PSL title.

Lastly, Sundowns' senior players need to step up in the remaining six league matches, starting with the Tshwane Derby against SuperSport United. 

Denis Onyango, Anele Ngcongca, Oupa Manyisa, and Hlompho Kekana are accomplished players, who have won the coveted trophy with the club.

Such experienced players need to pull the team through at this crucial stage of the season, but perhaps Mosimane can also rotate his squad to give as many players a chance as possible without dismantling the core of the team. 

Freshening up the squad could help Sundowns deal with physical and mental fatigue, especially because they are also involved in the Champions League