Downs face tricky test of their credentials
Mamelodi Sundowns’ resolve at the top of the Absa Premiership will be tested over the next few days.
After going 17 games unbeaten in all competitions, the Brazilians face a tough seven days that could put the brakes on their unbeaten run.
With a five-point gap at the top before this weekend’s round of matches, Sundowns can afford to slip up, although that will be the last thing on Pitso Mosimane’s mind. He will want to keep the chasing pack at a distance.
Starting this afternoon, they face a hectic schedule that commences with a trip to the James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney, where they visit Free State Stars.
Then they have a tough one against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday, also on the road, before heading out of the country to Zimbabwe, where they will face Chicken Inn in the Confederation of African Football Champions League next Sunday.
They will get a week’s breather before taking on Golden Arrows – the last team to beat them, at the end of September.
The next few fixtures could essentially determine the championship’s destination, as other title contenders fight among themselves.
Sundowns travel to Soweto to face Pirates on Wednesday, a game that will test the Brazilians’ title credentials. The Buccaneers always rise to the occasion against big sides.
Pirates are fighting for survival – their log position leaves much to be desired. They also have a bone to pick with Sundowns, who beat them 2-0 in their first-round clash at Loftus in Pretoria.
Third-placed Bidvest Wits will be looking to get their campaign back on track when
SuperSport United vs Ajax Cape Town (Lucas Moripe Stadium); Free State Stars vs Mamelodi Sundowns (James Motlatsi Stadium); Platinum Stars vs Polokwane City (Royal Bafokeng Stadium)
Bidvest Wits vs Kaizer Chiefs (Bidvest Stadium)
Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Orlando Stadium); Mpumalanga Black Aces vs Ajax Cape Town, Mbombela Stadium)
they welcome defending champions Kaizer Chiefs in a six-pointer at the Bidvest Wits Stadium on Tuesday.
The Students are gradually losing pace at the top after dropping eight points in their last four matches. They lost to Mpumalanga Black Aces and Bloemfontein Celtic and dropped further points in a 1-1 draw against Platinum Stars midweek.
Both Wits and Chiefs need three points to close the gap before it is too late.
Aces, who have dropped unnecessary points, have a tricky one against struggling Ajax Cape Town away in Cape Town, also on Wednesday.
Coach Muhsin Ertuğral’s side would be serious contenders if they didn’t surrender points against sides at the bottom of the log.
They suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to University of Pretoria recently and played to a goalless draw with Jomo Cosmos midweek.
Aces’ lost six points would have put AmaZayoni neck and neck with Sundowns. But it’s not too late to get their title challenge back on track.
FLYING HIGH Khama Billiat has been the star of the show at Mamelodi Sundowns