Battle for ABSA PSL 2018/19 league title continues as Sundowns and Witz play to a stalemate

Battle for ABSA PSL league title continues as Sundowns and Wits play to a stalemate

Prior to the game kicking off on the 23rd of February, 18h00 between Bidvest Wits and Sundowns, Wits had 37 points (in 20 games) and Sundowns had 36 points (in 18 games). This game was targeted as a title decider by many football pundits. Definitely a win for either team would have placed either team in a good position with 9 games left for Wits and 11 games left for Sundowns.

The match between Wits and Sundowns ended in a stalemate, which meant that the chase for ABSA PSL league title was thrown wide open. Now Pirates and Cape Town City FC believe they have a chance to win title, with Pirates and Cape Town FC still to play Sundowns and Wits. The 2017/2018 league promises to be the most exciting league title finish since the inception of the PSL with four teams in with a chance with 9 games left for Pirates and Wits, 10 games left for Cape Town City and 11 games left for Sundowns. Unbelievably, Sundowns have two games with Cape Town City FC, which have proved to be a voodoo team for Sundowns. Cape Town City have already knocked-out Sundowns from the MTN 8 cup this season. Moreover, in the 2016/17 season Cape Tow City beat Sundowns twice in the league and in the 2017/18 season both teams won 1 game each.

Match Analysis of the game between Sundowns and Wits is discussed in detail below.

Starting Line Ups

Wits: Keet, Mere, Hlatshwayo, Johhanes, Hlanti, Ritchie, Scott, Alexandra, Lakay, Motupa, Hotto.

Sundowns:Onyango, Lebusa, Nascimento, Arendse, Ngcongca, Kekana, Mabund, Lakay, Zwane, Maboe, Mahlambi

Notable omissions from the starting line-up was from Sundowns, as star Uruguayan player Sirino was left out. This was a clear sign that Pitso's tactics for the game was to defend and not lose the game.

First Half: Wits 1 - Sundowns 1

In an action packed first half, Sundowns started the brighter of the two team and scored early through Phakamani Mahlambi. However Wits came back in the game and hit the post through a beautiful cross from Ritchie that was headed towards goal by Gift Motupa. Motupa would equalize for Wits, after winning the ball from Sundown's defender Nascimento and then chipping the advancing goalkeeper. Wits deserved the goal and were all over Sundowns and were unfortunate not to get a second goal after poor finishing from Ritchie and company. In the 36 minute of the game Arendse was given a red card for a professional foul on Fagrie Lakay which prevented the speedy Wits winger from getting a scoring chance to put Wits in the ascendancy. Pitso shock the had of the defender as he walked out of the ground, which was a clear indication Pitso was happy with Arendse sacrifice to prevent a goal by getting himself send off and suspended for the next two games.
Maboe crosses the ball for Mahlambi to score

All picture provided by Kgothatso Mophosho.

Second Half: Wits 1 - Sundowns 1

The second half was a tactical battle with 10 man Sundowns parking the bus and not giving away scoring chances to Wits. While Wits brought on all their attacking players they had on the bench (Domingues Pelembe, Simon Murry and Gabadinho Mango) to try get the goal. On the other had, Pitso brought on an extra defender to counter the move of coach Gavin Hunt. The second half was cagey, with Sundowns kicking the ball into stands every chance they got and Wits trying with no luck to get the second goal. A draw was a good result for Sundowns since they had 10 players for close to 53 minutes of the game. Gavin Hunt was angry for his side failing to beat 10 man Sundowns, and this meant that they dropped 2 vital points. While Sundowns have 2 games in hand, Pirates and Sundowns are both 2 points behind Wits on the log.

Pitso's comments after the game:
Players showed that they a tactically superior and that they have 5 years experience playing in African champions league. Wits had a lot of scoring chances but they failed to take their chances but this is a South African problem, Sundown had the same problem against Polokwane, Pirates and all the teams have the same problem. Its a gospel we are used to it in South Africa.

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