- Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane has seemingly conceded the Absa Premiership title after a demoralising defeat to Cape Town City.
- Since the resumption of the league, Sundowns have failed to win a game in three attempts after also being held by Pirates and Highlands Park.
- The relegation battle at the bottom of the table is even more precarious with just six points separating seven teams in the standings.
Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane on Monday evening seemed to concede the Absa Premiership title after a demoralising 3-2 defeat to Cape Town City at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Two goals by man of the match Surprise Ralani condemned Sundowns to their third game without a win since the resumption of the 2019/2020 PSL campaign after being held to draws against Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park.
Speaking after the defeat - with the scoreline somewhat flattering his side - a downbeat Mosimane almost seemed to accept defeat.
"You will fight for it (Absa Premiership title) and if you're not getting it, you don't get it," Mosimane said in a post-match interview.
"We tried winning it for the third time and we know it's not easy. You can't always have what you wish for and that's the way it goes and if it's not going to be for us, it's not going be for us.
"You move on and if we don't find it, we'll fight for the Nedbank Cup. It's okay, this is football and these things happen.
"You can't win everything, but we will fight for everything."
Sundowns now find themselves trailing log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by six points with an inferior goal difference with six rounds of fixtures remaining.
Mosimane lamented the fact that his team had been affected by the four month lay-off due to the coronavirus pandemic that halted a rich vein of form consisting of consecutive victories.
"You have to accept it, it happens to everybody."
Title race swinging in Kaizer Chiefs' favour
Sundowns found themselves four points behind Kaizer Chiefs, but with an all-important game in hand as the PSL season was given the go-ahead to resume on 8 August.
Mosimane's men - who had been the form side just before the league was suspended on 15 March - were widely expected to hunt down the Soweto giants with the title race going down to the wire.
What has transpired, though, has been very different, with Kaizer Chiefs grabbing four points from their two fixtures played since lockdown with a momentum-shifting 3-2 comeback win over Polokwane City in their most recent fixture.
Sundowns were held by both Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park before a demoralising defeat to Cape Town City and now find themselves closer to Pirates in third than to the leaders.
"The manner in which it (the title race slipping away) is going, looks like it's going that way," Mosimane told journalists post-match.
"We've drawn two and lost one and in that context, in reality, it looks like it. But until the last game and until mathematically it's proven that we can't win it, then we won't accept it.
"But until that time we are a very ambitious team and we will try to win three trophies and we still believe these two (Absa Premiership and Nedbank Cup) are still available."
With a possible 15 points up for grabs, mathematically the top six teams down to Maritzburg United on 39 points - they trail Chiefs by 13 points - are still in the title race.
Realistically, however, with their far superior goal difference, the chasing pack would have to hope that Ernst Middendorp's side loses three games out of their next six remaining fixtures.
Kaizer Chiefs' superior goal difference essentially gives them another point over the rest of the chasing pack.
Battle for CAF, Top 8 places
The two CAF Champions League slots seem guaranteed to be occupied by Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns with the fight for the remaining CAF Confederations Cup spot between Pirates (3rd - 42 points), SuperSport (4th - 41 points), Wits (5th - 40 points) and Maritzburg (6th - 39 points).
The race for the remaining two slots - 7th and 8th position - in the Top Eight looks likely to be a fight between Cape Town City, Highlands Park and Golden Arrows.
Mathematically the relegation battle remarkably still involves 10 teams with 10 points separating Cape Town City in 7th place on 33 points down to Black Leopards in 16th spot and rock-bottom on 23 points.
Realistically six teams seem to be right in the middle of a relegation dog-fight with just six points between Bloemfontein Celtic in 11th on 29 points and Leopards.
Baroka FC and AmaZulu managed to grab a vital four points from their last two matches played, with Leopards possibly turning their season around with a win over Maritzburg United.
With five rounds of matches remaining, wins become all the more important heading into the final stretch of the season. A possible six points from the remaining games with a bit of fortune could be enough to remain in the top-flight.
One win is the equivalent of three draws so the bottom sides will be hoping to grind out three points by any means necessary.
What is sure to happen is that we are in store for the most unique conclusion to the season and perhaps the most exciting finish.