Kaizer Chiefs host Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the DSTV Premiership. The hosts snapped a losing streak in their last match and this serves as a chance for coach Arthur Zwane to put himself forward for the role long-term. Sundowns have secured the title and could receive a guard on honour from Amakhosi as they look to finish the season by winning their remaining matches and hitting the 70-point mark.
Chiefs had a fine run of form at one point this season under Stuart Baxter. A 15-game streak in the PSL saw 10 wins and 32 points accrued. However, when a 1-0 home loss to Golden Arrows was soon followed by a 0-0 home draw with TS Galaxy and a 1-0 defeat in Soweto to a struggling SuperSport United, the British coach was sacked.
Assistant Arthur Zwane took over and couldn’t stop the rot as his side lost three in a row, 1-0 at Stellenbosch, 2-1 at Golden Arrows, and 2-1 at home to Cape Town City. In midweek, they ended their four-match losing streak with a fortunate 1-0 win at home against Marumo Gallants. Chiefs were largely outplayed but a Keagan Dolly shot deflected in off a teammate to secure a much-needed three points.
Chiefs Team News
Chiefs have question marks in a few positions. Arthur Zwane must choose between Brandon Petersen and Bruce Bvuma in goal. Rama Mphahlele looks set to captain the side at center-back with Eric Mathoho injured and other options committing errors of late.
In midfield, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo is a doubt so it’s expected to be Cole Alexander, Bernard Parker, and Phathu Nange. The famous CBD trio of Castro-Billiat-Dolly, who excelled for Sundowns in the 2015-16 season will form the attack. Lebogang Manyama remains out injured and target man Samir Nurkovic is an injury concern.
Amakhosi have looked unmotivated of late and very low on confidence. Avoiding a defeat would be seen as a good result here. If they fall behind, ensuring they aren’t beaten by three or four goals will be the concern.
Zwane likes his side to attempt possession football with attacking fullbacks but this could play straight into the hands of Sundowns.
Sundowns have long secured the PSL title even if those below maintained a mathematical chance. This has seen a slight dip in league results by their standards, with the focus shifting to the CAF Champions League. Their last 10 PSL matches have brought just five wins with defeats to AmaZulu and Maritzburg United (after a dubious late penalty) whilst they’ve also drawn with Baroka and Cape Town City recently. The latter match officially secured the league title for a fifth straight season.
Going into Tuesday’s game at Sekhuhkune United, a match Sundowns won 2-0, they were four without a victory in all competitions. That run included a shock 3-2 exit in the Champions League quarter-finals to Petro de Luanda. They were beaten 2-1 in Angola and could only draw 1-1 at home despite creating a host of clear chances. It also included beating Royal AM 2-1 to reach the Nedbank Cup final, a chance to secure a domestic treble.
Sundowns Team News
Downs have been without key-holding midfielder Rivaldo Coetzee for a while. Andile Jali was absent in midweek for unknown reasons but should return to start this one. Lebohang Maboe is likely to be his double pivot partner. Mosa Lebusa was back from injury at center-back in midweek, a timely return as Rushine De Reuck has a hamstring problem and Brian Onyango is a major doubt.
In attack, Themba Zwane and Peter Shalulile are certain starters. Neo Maema, Bradley Ralani, Thabiso Kutumela, and Slovak striker Pavol Safranko (if over an injury problem) are competing for the other two spots.
With no CAF Champions League distractions and a bit of needle between the teams of late – as Amakhosi allowed rivals Al Ahly to train at their facilities before facing Sundowns – Masandawana will be totally up for this match.
They want to finish strongly and end with 70 league points. There is also the promise of win bonuses to ensure there is no complacency. Sundowns will attack and look to drive home any lead by scoring more goals.
Chiefs have lost 4 of their last 5 PSL matches
Chiefs have scored just 2 goals in their last 6 home PSL matches
Chiefs have lost 5 home PSL matches this season
Chiefs have lost to nil in 3 of their last 4 home PSL matches against Sundowns
Sundowns have the PSL’s best attack (52 scored) and defence (14 conceded)
Sundowns have lost 1 of their last 9 PSL matches (W5, D3)
Sundowns have kept 3 clean sheets in their last 3 PSL matches
Everything points to Sundowns winning this match and a decent margin is also quite possible. Chiefs shocked Downs to hand them their only league defeat last season but it’s hard to see a repeat of that.
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