Fresh from completing a record fourth-straight PSL crown, Masandawana are back for what could be an outing to maintain their prestigeMamelodi Sundowns might have already wrapped up the Premier Soccer League title but they stand in Swallows’ top-three bid when the two sides clash at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday.
With three league games remaining, the Brazilians had taken an unassailable 10-point lead, achieved on Wednesday when they dismissed Tshwane rivals SuperSport United 3-1.
Now they could be playing for prestige, knowing that they will not be able to reach the record 71-point haul they accumulated at the end of the 2015/16 season. Editors’ Picks
It was the record points tally by any team since the PSL became a 16-team competition and the highest Sundowns can attain now is 69 if they win their remaining matches.
But they face a Swallows side determined to end the season in the top-three and make up for points dropped in a spate of draws they recorded this season.
The Dube Birds are currently fifth on the table and if they beat Masandawana, they will move just a point behind third-placed Golden Arrows.
Game Swallows FC vs Mamelodi Sundowns Date Saturday, May 29 Time 17:00 SA Time TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch DStv.com/DStv Now App SuperSport TV’s PSL channel 202/SABC 1 Squads & Team News Swallows have no suspended player ahead of the match against Sundowns in what is good news for coach Brandon Truter.
But they will be hoping for the return of Vuyo Mere from injury which saw the veteran defender miss their last match against Stellenbosch after lasting just 19 minutes in the 1-1 draw away at Kaizer Chiefs on May 12.
Goalkeeper Virgil Vries is also expected back as he was absent against Stellenbosch.
Mamelodi Sundowns have not issued an update on the return of striker Peter Shalulile who could not make it for their win over SuperSport United.
Another forward Gift Motupa did not feature in the midweek fixture as well and news of his return has been kept under wraps by Masandawana.
Midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise is also battling fitness issues as he played just 19 minutes of their match against SuperSport before being replaced by Lebohang Maboe while defender Rushine De Reuck has been absent in recent matches.
Match PreviewInterestingly, Saturday’s match is a clash of the only teams which have lost only once each in this PSL campaign but Swallows have been undone by a spate of draws.
The Birds have earned themselves a reputation of being ‘draw kings’ this season after notching a record 18 draws so far with three matches remaining.
They have broken the 17-match draw record which was jointly held by SuperSport (2012/13) as well as Free State Stars and Santos who finished the 2005/06 campaign on par after sharing the spoils 17 times.
Swallows host the Tshwane giants on the backdrop of six straight draws which saw them drop 12 points, enough to place them in second position.
But their opponents Sundowns have been flying high on the league front of late, managing four straight victories and a draw in their last five outings.
Fatigue could, however, be catching up with Sundowns who had been trying to balance domestic and continental responsibilities and it is yet to be seen if the coaches might rest their key players.
They face a well-rested Swallows who go into this match after 11 days without being involved in competitive action.
There was a 1-1 sharing of the spoils the last time Sundowns and Swallows met when substitute Musa Nyatama salvaged a draw for the Birds deep into stoppage time after Kermit Erasmus had thrust Masandwana ahead at Lucas Moripe Stadium in January.