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Downs embracing title pressure

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane insists his players are thriving under the pressure of challenging for the league title. Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Having gone level on points with Premiership-topping Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane insists his players are thriving under the pressure of challenging for the league title.

“We need to keep the league exciting and if we drop the ball, it’s not nice,” Mosimane said after the game at Loftus Versfeld.

“My players love the stress, they love the pressure and they feel like they can’t lose.”

Anthony Laffor put Sundowns ahead in first-half injury time, before Tuks drew level midway through the second period, courtesy of Atusaye Nyondo's header in the 63rd minute.

The Brazilians held their nerve and took the lead once more through Lebohang Mokoena shortly after and held on for their fifth successive league victory, and sixth in all competitions.

Three points were enough for Sundowns to keep Chiefs on their toes, but they still trail the Soweto outfit due to an inferior goal-difference.

Mosimane insisted Sundowns were content with the points and not going top of the log, heaping praise on a resilient Tuks outfit that came close to spoiling their party.

“Hard-earned points, we were sweating, we really fought for it,” the former Bafana Bafana mentor said.

“Our opponents showed what they said before the game, that we were not going to get it for free, we have to fight for it and earn it.

“In all the games that we’ve played here, this was the most difficult one to take.”

Sunday’s result put the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Chiefs, who welcome the Brazilians to a potentially title-deciding Premiership fixture at FNB Stadium next weekend.

The pair are deadlocked on 49 points, although Amakhosi have two games in hand and could restore a six point lead over Mosimane’s men.

However, Mosimane believed his charges were up for the challenge and they would make a serious charge for the title.

“My team has integrity and the will to go for it,” he said.

“Whoever wins it will earn it, we're not going to give it to anybody on a silver platter.

“We have a game on Saturday, we will give our best, we will fight.” – Sapa


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