Middendorp, Mosimane show no sign of nerves ahead of Saturday's moment of truth

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Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)
Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)
  • Both Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns recorded victories on Wednesday evening to set up a title deciding Saturday.
  • Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp was reluctant to show any emotion as he kept his cool during his post-match interview.
  • Sundowns mentor Pitso Mosimane believes his side has done brilliantly to be level on points with the Glamour Boys.

It was a Wednesday night to remember as both Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns recorded important victories to set up a mouth-watering final round on Saturday to decide the winners of the 2019/20 Absa Premiership title.

In a nervy encounter at Orlando Stadium, Amakhosi held onto a slender 1-0 lead for majority of the clash against Chippa United after Khama Billiat tapped-in from close range to earn his side a vital three points.

Meanwhile, at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Masandawana thrashed relegation threatened Polokwane City 3-0 courtesy of goals from Anele Ngcongca, Themba Zwane and Keletso Makgalwa.

Amakhosi still remain at the summit of the Absa Premiership standings with 53 points, the same as second place Sundowns, with only goal difference separating the two South African powerhouses. 

In his post-match interview with SuperSport TV, Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp was reluctant to fall into the trap of getting ahead of himself as he praised his charges' "fighting spirit" against the Chilli Boys.

"Of course I am very happy with the entire team, the technical team and the players that we have," Middendorp said with a deadpan expression. 

"A win with a lot of fighting spirit and that's what we needed today and what we will need on Saturday."

Chiefs face-off against a relegation threatened Baroka FC on Saturday while Sundowns simultaneously take on Black Leopards.

Middendorp is aware of what could happen if his charges do not show up on the day with the right kind of mindset after Baroka shockingly beat the Brazilians last week.

"We have Baroka, a fantastic team as everybody knows ... you have to be, otherwise you can't beat Sundowns," Middendorp said.

"Our competitors [Sundowns] are playing Black Leopards on the same level where you have to expect both opponents will not give anything away at all."

Sundowns have been lagging behind Amakhosi since August last year and at one stage Masandawana were 13-points adrift of the log leaders due to their involvement in the CAF Champions League.

Fast-forward to September and Pitso Mosimane's charges are now level.

"It's a cup final [on Saturday]. Whoever wins it, wins it but we're not going to give it to anybody. We all have to work for it. It's on the edge," said Mosimane in his post-match interview.

"We had one chance this year, only one chance against Baroka [to go above Chiefs]. Otherwise we've been chasing. But, what's good? To close a 13-point gap. This is what I told the boys. I give them credit.

"While other people [teams] were resting, where were we? In Cairo, in Morocco ... fighting for the Telkom Cup, fighting for the Nedbank Cup. I mean we can't be that ungrateful.

"If we get it, we get it. We have done our best. And by the way, what's more important tonight, a Champions League spot for the seventh year in a row."

All matches are scheduled for Saturday at 15:30.

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