POLOKWANE – The white jersey that coach Pitso Mosimane boasts doesn’t lose that much was at hand for another Mamelodi Sundowns win on the road on Sunday to stretch their lead at the Absa Premiership summit to four points with five games to go.
The Brazilians came from behind to beat Baroka 2-1 and register their 10th win on the road in a league campaign that has seen them win 15 matches in total, which shows just how good they have been away.
Percy Tau once again led the Brazilians with a workmanlike shift that saw him graft more than weave his magic.
But that did nothing to hurt his game as the 23-year-old can do both. He produced an assist and a goal that stretched his goals tally to 11.
He is now tied with Rodney Ramagalela who has been leading the race for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award for most of this season.
This will definitely increase the volume from Mosimane, who has been telling everyone that Tau deserves to win the Footballer of the Year award.
If Tau and Sundowns keep up this pace, they will not only clean up at the Premier Soccer League awards in May, but they will also add league title No 8 – which would be a record in the PSL era.
Baroka tried to stifle Sundowns’ title challenge, like they did last season, by holding them to a 2-2 draw that knocked the winds out of their sails.
Baroka reacted swiftly to their early setback to take the lead. Bakgaga’s star player, the enterprising Talent Chawapiwa, pulled a hamstring just 13 minutes into the match.
The Zimbabwean was going to be a key component of Baroka’s attack as they looked to exploit the slow central-defence pairing of Ricardo Nascimento and Wayne Arendse by making the most of their speed on the flanks.
Sundowns’ fans showing their players love. pic.twitter.com/zVrBymhDWZ
Robin Ngalande, who replaced Chawapiwa, isn’t that fast, but what he lacks in speed, he makes up for in vision.
Ngalande created the goal that gave the hosts the lead. The Malawian whipped in an inviting cross that was finished by burly Lucky Nguzana.
That goal gave the visitors confidence and played into their game plan of frustrating the Brazilians, by defending in numbers and looking to catch them on the break. Sundowns painstakingly kept knocking on the Baroka steel door.
The goal Sundowns came back into the match with wasn’t flashy, but it was effective.
Wayne Arendse jumped high to head Tau’s cross past Ayanda Dlamini, who had already started wasting time in a bid to slow the tempo of the championship-chasing Sundowns.
Khama waBantu. pic.twitter.com/eoSSplQiXF
With that goal, Baroka opened up and this time around, it was them who were playing into Sundowns’ hands.
The Brazilians dominated the second half to produce a vintage Sundowns performance. There was a Tau goal and assist, another win on the road, and more importantly, they increased their lead at the summit.
But the hard part for the Brazilians will come in their remaining five matches. This is where they lost the league last season by winning only one of their last five matches and drawing the other four.
Mosimane and his technical team rested key players leading up to this stretch to ensure that they not only have fit bodies, but also mentally strong people who can withstand the pressure of knowing that the league is theirs to lose.