Sundowns Only Have City In Their Sights
The last time Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City met, back in October last year, the Limpopo side snatched a point from the Tshwane giants in a goalless draw. That was before the Brazillians got into their winning stride – and Wednesday’s Absa Premiership clash carries even greater importance for both sides with the PSL championship beckoning for Sundowns while Polokwane are battling to get out of the relegation scrap.
This is what makes the clash mouth-watering. They meet at the Peter Mokaba Stadium and Pitso Mosimane’s boys returned from their CAF Champions League encounter at the weekend relishing this clash.
That City have thrice beaten Sundowns does not quite reflect the dominance Sundowns have had over the Polokwane side. One has to go back to 2013 for the last time they managed a win over Sundowns – a scrappy 1 – 0 own goal victory, but a win nonetheless. And then again way back in 2009 and 2008 when they won 2 – 0 and 2 – 1.
Since then, Sundowns have put nine goals past them without conceding, which means that City have not scored against the Tshwane side in the past two years. And therein lies the challenge for City: in the current season, they have conceded 36 goals, the second worst defensive record in the league and have won only six of their 23 games, scoring 24, with Thobani Mncwango scoring 10 – four of these against Supersport.
They have not won in their most recent five games, a performance which has seen them sitting on position 13 on the log with the relegation and promotion play-off beckoning unless they move out of this zone.
But it is perhaps this that will motivate the side against Sundowns. They have the confidence that they have beaten the Tshwane side before and will go onto the pitch determined to repeat that. Add to that the scoring form of Mncwango, who is chasing the top goal scorer mantle and Sundowns would do well to ensure he is tightly marked.
Sundowns have a gruelling spell of games ahead, but while coach Mosimane has mentioned the hectic schedule believing that they deserved some respite, he is wanting to make sure that his side remains on course for the league championship. Their philosophy is to take it one game at a time and are not looking beyond Tuesday’s game at this stage.
The Brazilians know that Bidvest Wits are breathing down their neck and they lead the Students by only four points. This is the crucial stage of the league chase and Mosimane and his technical team would have been working on the mental strength of their charges to ensure that they do not blink.
They will also want to erase quickly the memory of their defeat against Bloemfontein Celtic in their last league clash. Again Mosimane sees this as only a hiccup – saying that losing this game was not cause for concern.
On the contrary, that defeat was a wake-up call as Sundowns had gone 18 games without loss and Mosimane and his team had to find the underlying cause.
The players are confident of getting to the finish line in front and they work hard at preparing for any team they face. The same will apply to Polokwane.
Mosimane will have a full team available for selection and no doubt, he will ensure the best horses for the course are fielded tomorrow.