Sundowns open title defence against Chiefs

Sundowns open title defence against Chiefs
George Maluleka of Kaizer Chiefs tackled by Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa on 17 October 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 03, 2018. 14:31

Mamelodi Sundowns will open the defence of their Absa Premiership title when they host Kaizer Chiefs at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday, 4 August 2018, kick-off at 15h00.

Sundowns claimed their eighth championship in the PSL era last season, as they finished on top of the log with a haul of 60 points from their 30 league matches. Manager Pitso Mosimane will be faced with the challenge of trying to defend the title in the new campaign.

The Brazilians’ home form saw them claim 26 points from 15 matches, as they recorded eight wins, two draws and five defeats as hosts through the 2017/18 season.

Sundowns’ work in the transfer market has included the signing of Lyle Lakay from Cape Town City and international midfielder Andile Jali, while the likes of Percy Tau, Thabo Nthethe and Yannick Zakri left the club.

Chiefs endured a difficult campaign through last season and only managed 48 points from their 30 league matches to come home in third place. New manager Giovanni Solinas has been tasked with returning the club to the pinnacle of South African football.

The Amakhosi’ away form saw them claim 26 points from 15 matches, as they recorded seven wins, five draws and three defeats as visitors through the 2017/18 season.

Chiefs’ work in the transfer market has included the signings of Virgil Vries, Letlhogonolo Mirwa and Andriamirado Andrianarimanana, while the likes of Tsepo Masilela, Keagan Buchanan and Sibusiso Khumalo have departed.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Chiefs have met in 66 league matches since 1985. The Amakhosi have claimed 27 wins compared to 20 for the Brazilians, while 19 matches have been drawn. The Tshwane side has won 15 of their 33 home matches in the rivalry, suffering 10 defeats in the process.

The teams’ two meetings last season saw Chiefs take four points off the eventual champions. The Amakhosi won 2-1 away in the first half of the campaign, before holding the Brazilians to a goalless draw in the return game which was played back in January 2017.

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