The champagne is probably on ice. And no, we’re not talking about Sekhukhune or Royal AM, we’re talking about Chloorkop.
Mamelodi Sundowns need just one win to lift an unprecedented 11th PSL title.
Although he insists this is not a title decider, the ‘Brazilians’ coach Manqoba Mngqithi will be hoping to put the disappointing CAF exit (and related off-field shenanigans) behind them and immediately create a new narrative around the club.
Downs are just 90 minutes away from a record-setting 4th successive PSL title, and standing in their way this week is a familiar rival.
50 – This will be the 50th league clash between Sundowns and SuperSport in the PSL era, making it the joint most played fixture on the PSL calendar.
This derby has been one-sided in recent years as Sundowns have lost just one league game against SuperSport in the last eight years, drawing three and winning 11 games. Their visitors are enduring some terrible away form – SuperSport are winless in seven away games in the league. The last time they went on a longer winless run away from home in the same season was in 1999 – even SuperSport coach Kaitano Tembo was still a player at the club.
7 – SuperSport are winless in seven away matches (Drew 4 Lost 3) – currently the second worst away run in the league, behind Swallows (8).
Tembo needs to get his players scoring if they want to avoid getting more unwanted records. Already, they’ve endured their longest winless run under him in this particular campaign. In 15 games since the end of January, SuperSport have scored more than one goal in a match on just one occasion. Golden Boot contender Bradley Grobler may have scored in the last game, but he’ll be coming up against his hoodoo side should he play.
12 – Grobler is yet to score a goal in twelve matches played against Sundowns (all competitions), the longest he has gone without scoring against a single PSL opponent.
Once again, he comes against a defence that has recently been fortified.
Sundowns bolstered defence
It was just a few weeks ago that AmaZulu were talked up as title challengers. Sundowns had kept one clean sheet in six games, allowing Benni McCarthy’s side to gain some ground on them. Since then, the Sundowns defence have held firm and are one of the main reasons they can be crowned champions on Wednesday night.
Four clean sheets in a row have helped make the bumpy road a bit smoother, and whatever happens with the remainder of the title race, the defensive awards will be heading to Sundowns this season. They’re guaranteed to keep the most clean sheets this season (already on 16), and Denis Onyango has also secured the Golden Glove for 2020/21. Onyango may have committed an error leading to a goal against Al Ahly recently, but alongside Hlompho Kekana, the Brazilians’ Number 1 is now 90 minutes away from a 14th trophy (only Daine Klate has more).
15 – Onyango has kept 15 clean sheets in the league this season, equalling the Sundowns record for clean sheets in a PSL season.
He is now just two shy of the PSL season record (17) held by Moeneeb Josephs.
Black Leopards v Chiefs
CAF Champions League semi-finalists Kaizer Chiefs desperately need a win in order to keep their hopes of a Top 8 finish alive. As things stand, the highest Chiefs can still finish is seventh, but failure to win on Wednesday will leave them just one Top 8 spot to fight for with two games to play.
It’s possible the last game against TS Galaxy could end up as a Top 8 playoff. A win here would put less pressure on that last game, and even catapult Chiefs into the Top eight, helping Gavin Hunt celebrate better:
900 – According to SuperSport, this will be Gavin Hunt’s 900th game as a coach, the most of anyone that has coached a top-flight club in the PSL.
Orlando Pirates v AmaZulu
Pirates will be looking to bounce back from a humiliating exit at the hands of Raja Casablana, in which they conceded four goals in the first half. On paper, this is one of the fixtures they’d welcome – they have lost just once to AmaZulu in 20 games in all competitions since 2010 (Won 7 Drew 12). Yet, this is a totally different AmaZulu side.
1 – A win for AmaZulu will confirm them as CAF Champions League participants for next season, a first for the club.
By Opta Jabu