Sundowns close in on the league title after brushing Arrows aside
It’s becoming a matter of when and not if Mama will give Mamelodi Sundowns and their fans the signal to collect their eighth Premier Soccer League title.
Their hard fought 1-0 win‚ courtesy of a first half penalty from defender Ricardo Nascimento‚ against Golden Arrows on Tuesday night further enhanced their status as premiership champions-elect as they regained their six-points lead at the summit.
As a result of this win‚ a fifth in succession‚ the Brazilians need only four points from their remaining three matches against Maritzburg United‚ Ajax Cape Town and Bloemfontein Celtic to pip second-placed Orlando Pirates to the finishing line.
Pitso Mosimane’s men showed no signs of fatigue despite the fact that this was their fourth league match in less than two weeks after beating Chippa United‚ Baroka FC and Bidvest Wits.
Unless Pitso Mosimane’s side suffers a meltdown of epic proportions‚ the league title will return to Chloorkop since the 2014/2015 season regardless of what happens with Pirates and the outcome of the Tendai Ndoro registration matter.
Pirates are going to be hard-pressed to make up this six-point gap in their last three matches against Wits‚ Cape Town City and Free State Stars who are going to give them a tough ride as they have ambitions of their own.
For Arrows‚ who were at some stage among the top sides in the league‚ this defeat is a crushing blow as they remain twelfth on the standings and only three points away from second-bottom Ajax at this crucial stage of the campaign.
Sundowns opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Nascimento sent Arrows goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva the wrong way from the spot after Zolani Nkombelo was judged by referee Kulasande Qgonqgo to have brought down Sibusiso Vilakazi in the box.
Before Nascimento found the back of the net‚ Sundowns applied consistent pressure on Arrows with most of their attacks coming through the midfield from Vilakazi‚ Sirino ‚ Themba Zwane and captain Hlompho Kekana.
Sundowns came back stronger in the second half and continued to pile on more pressure on Arrows but their attackers‚ especially‚ Tau‚ Vilakazi and Zwane‚ were guilty of failing to convert chances from good scoring positions for the insurance goal that could have settled the nerves in the closing stages.
In the last quarter of the match‚ Mosimane made a double change with Oupa Manyisa and Thapelo Morena coming on for Sirino and Vilakazi to freshen things up and the Brazilians held on to a significant step towards the title.