Mamelodi Sundowns have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions, and are in danger of losing out on many fronts unless results begin to change.
Knocked out of the Nedbank cup by TTM, the Brazilians were knocked off the top of the DSTV Premiership table yesterday by AmaZulu, a position they have occupied since the end of November. And now, with Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly awaiting them in the CAF Quarter-Final, what had previously looked like a procession to multiple trophies suddenly looks a bit more complicated.
174 – Sundowns have been top of the table for 174 days altogether this season, more than any other side.
You don’t have to look too far back to find the last time a league title was lost by a team that had led for so long. Indeed, Sundowns were the victors last season after Kaizer Chiefs spent 379 days on top of the table last season, only to lose out to Sundowns on the last day. Admittedly, 154 days were in lockdown – which is ironic given that’s how many consecutive days Sundowns have been on top this season.
The phrase “From treble to double to single” is commonly used for teams that go from potentially winning multiple trophies one week, to being in contention for just one in a week or two. This could apply to The Brazilians this month, but they still have the opportunity to wrestle back control, starting today against Pirates.
Sundowns have 3 games in hand, and will play all of those catch up games in the next 10 days. Should they win all of them, they will be seven points ahead with four games to play – a better looking prospect.
Having said that, the last place you want to go to in search of a must-win result is Orlando Stadium. The Buccaneers have dismissed all and sundry in home matches over the last few years, with a home record any club across the continent would envy. In fact, if the league title were decided on home form alone, Pirates would have been champions in two of the last three seasons. Their home form is outstanding whichever way you look at it – league only or all competitions, but is particularly impressive when considering Orlando Stadium results.
34 – Pirates are unbeaten in 34 league matches played at Orlando Stadium since August 2018 (W20 D14 L0), with their last league defeat at Orlando Stadium coming in August 2018, 0-1 v Wits.
Altogether, Pirates have lost just once in 39 official home games, although the sole defeat came at FNB Stadium and another four ‘home’ games were played in the bio-bubble. In fact, the Buccaneers are approaching a milestone day next week, if they remain unbeaten in their next two home games – against Sundowns today and against bottom of the table Black Leopards during the week.
1 000 – Pirates are unbeaten in league games at Orlando Stadium in 991 days, and are just nine days away from completing 1 000 days without a league defeat at their official home.
The Leopards match looks more straightforward compared to what is immediately ahead of them. No team has beaten Pirates on more occasions in the PSL era than Sundowns, who are the only team to have won 20 league matches against Pirates. Not just that, they are one team that seems to have solved the puzzle of beating Pirates away.
12 – Sundowns have beaten Pirates 12 times in their own home ground in the PSL era, twice more than the nearest best side (Wits, SuperSport and Chiefs on 6).
Where Pirates are specialists at home, the reverse is true for Sundowns. If the league were decided on away games alone, Sundowns would be the champions in four of the last five seasons – and indeed they have. Plus, they are still the only side unbeaten away from home this season, and have conceded just six goals on the road in the entire campaign.
0 – No team in PSL history has ever gone through an entire season unbeaten away from home.
There is still a lot to play for.
By Opta Jabu