/ 5 April 2012

The heat is on Sundowns in Premiership show-down

Mamelodi Sundowns could be left with Easter egg on their face, should Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates collect maximum points in this weekend’s Premiership matches.

Victory for either of these two sides would see Sundowns relinquish the top spot.

The log-leading Sundowns have thrown away points in the second half of the season and have now gone five games without a win on home soil at Loftus Versfeld, after a 0-0 draw with Golden Arrows on Wednesday.

Sundowns’ recent slump has seen them only win two of their last eight games.

“I am disappointed with the draw against Arrows,” Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens said.

“We twice hit the post and they did most of the attacking for almost the entire 90 minutes.

“Our opponents were organised defensively and did not allow us to attack through their central defence.”

Inferior goal difference
Orlando Pirates are now equal on 43 points with the Brazilians but have an inferior goal difference.

While Sundowns will not be active this weekend, the Buccaneers face bottom-placed Jomo Cosmos at Orlando Stadium on Easter Monday.

Victory over Ezenkosi will see the defending champions top the league standings for the first time this season — with eight matches left to play.

Pirates fought hard to beat AmaZulu 1-0 in Durban, while Cosmos threw away a lead to lose 2-1 to Ajax Cape Town midweek.

“Scoring an early goal helped us a lot,” Pirates coach Augusto Palacios said after the match.

“Discipline and commitment from my players was also key in the match.”

Claiming top spot
However, should Pirates falter, Moroka Swallows could claim top spot with three points should they beat Ajax at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Swallows now have 41 points after beating Wits on Wednesday.

In the other matches on Saturday, fourth-placed Free State Stars (38 points) travel to KwaZulu-Natal to take on Golden Arrows in KwaMashu.

Kaizer Chiefs, who are fifth on the table with 37 points, meet Platinum Stars in Rustenburg where a loss or a draw will diminish their title hopes even further.

Struggling challengers in sixth place SuperSport United (36 points) host Wits in Atteridgeville.

On Sunday, Bloemfontein Celtic meet AmaZulu at the Free State Stadium, with Maritzburg United taking on Santos at Harry Gwala Stadium. — Sapa