‘Downs look to keep up champion trend

‘Downs look to keep up champion trend
Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrating

Friday Aug 08, 2014. 09:51

Mamelodi Sundowns will look to be the fourth successive Absa Premiership champion to win the first league game of the following season when they tackle Maritzburg United on Friday evening.

For the past three successive seasons, the defending champions have opened the defence of their crown with a victory. Last term Kaizer Chiefs edged Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Bernard Parker, following in the footsteps of Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates who won their first league matches as defending champs in 2011/12 and 2012/13.

The last champion to lose their opening league match was SuperSport United in 2010/11. Matsatsantsa were thrashed 3-0 away to Bidvest Wits and went on to relinquish the title to the Buccaneers.

In all, the PSL champions have a record of 10 wins from 17 opening matches heading back to 1997/98, when the first PSL champions Manning Rangers defeated Cape Town Spurs 3-0 away.

The last time Sundowns were champions, they began the defence of their title with a 2-1 loss at home to AmaZulu in the opening round of the 2007/08 season.

Performances of PSL champions in their first game of the following season:

1997-98 Cape Town Spurs 0 Manning Rangers 3

1998-99 Cape Town Spurs 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 1

1999-00 SuperSport United 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 4

2000-01 Mamelodi Sundowns 0 Bush Bucks 1

2001-02 Orlando Pirates 2 Bush Bucks 1

2002-03 Jomo Cosmos 2 Santos 3

2003-04 SuperSport United 2 Orlando Pirates 0

2004-05 Dynamos 1 Kaizer Chiefs 4

2005-06 Bush Bucks 0 Kaizer Chiefs 1

2006-07 AmaZulu 0 Mamelodi Sundowns 0

2007-08 Mamelodi Sundowns 1 AmaZulu 2

2008-09 SuperSport United 1 Free State Stars 0

2009-10 Maritzburg United 1 SuperSport United 1

2010-11 Bidvest Wits 3 SuperSport United 0

2011-12 Black Leopards 0 Orlando Pirates 2

2012-13 Orlando Pirates 2 Golden Arrows 1

2013-14 Mpumalanga Black Aces 0 Kaizer Chiefs 1

PSL champions’ record in opening games:

P          W         D         L          GF       GA       GD      WIN%

17        10        3          4          29        15        14        59

Thanks to Yusuf Muhammad for the statistics.

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