Absa PSL: Mamelodi Sundowns vs. Kaizer Chiefs
Venue: Loftus Versdeld
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2019
The level of interested shown in this match should tell you everything you need to know about how well these two teams have been playing this season. Loftus Versfeld is sold out for this clash of rivals, with the league-leading Chiefs looking to get one over the second-placed Sundowns, a team that has had their number more than most in the recent past.
There are just two points between the two teams on the log right now, with the Amakhosi sitting atop with 19 points from eight games and the Masandawana right behind them with 17 points from their seven games. That makes this game the epitome of a title-chasing six-pointer.
The Chiefs would likely be happy with a repeat of the result in the corresponding fixture from last year on Sunday. In that game, the Chiefs picked up a point on their travels in a 1-1 draw with goals from Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Richardo Nascimento both coming within the first 25 minutes of play. The Sundowns then went on to shock the Chiefs 2-1 1 on the road in the reverse fixture last January.
The buildup to this game has centred around the claims of Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane that the Chiefs are favored and given preferential treatment by local referees. This sentiment was then echoed by Tiyani Mabunda, though he did then qualify his statement by saying that regardless of any bias the team plans to focus on factors that they can control.
The key to the game for the Sundowns will be the play of Uruguayan striker Mauricio Affonso. Affonso has scored three goals in three appearances – ironically all in different competitions – and he will be looking to keep his scoring streak going and be the difference against the Chiefs. His physical presence is quickly becoming important to the way that the Sundowns attack.
The Chiefs have been searching for more goals as of late, so it will be interesting to see how they deploy Khama Billiat, Samir Nurkovic, and Leonardo Castro in attack. There has been some talk that the three attackers could be used together at times, but it would be a brave move to make that decision in this game with the Chiefs being on the road against a rival in great form.
Don’t be shocked to see Dumisani Zuma included in the heart of the midfield. His energy and work rate will be important as the Chiefs try to stop the Brazilians from having time and space in the final third.
This is a heated rivalry between two teams – and two coaches – that really don’t like each other very much. It feels like the Chiefs need to get something out of this game as a validation and confidence boost against the Sundowns. While an away win isn’t something that should be ruled out given the Chiefs hot start to the season, you feel they would be pretty happy taking a point if it was offered to them before kickoff. With that in mind, the prediction here is a draw at 2.27 with BetXchange.