Mamelodi Sundowns FC – Match Report vs Moroka Swallows (03/01/2023)

High-flyers in the South African PSL, Mamelodi Sundowns, came one step closer to the league title by beating the Moroka Swallows at home. The intention of the visitors, who are struggling in the league, was very clear: don’t concede a goal. The Swallows parked the bus, playing a 5-4-1, against the Sundowns’ 4-3-3 formation, and managed to stay in the game quite long. The Brazilians quickly found the back of the net twice in the second half though, winning the game 2-0.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Marcelo Allende

  • Nationality: Chilean
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 07/04/1999
  • Club: Mamelodi Sundowns
  • Career: Cobreloa (Y), CD Santa Cruz, Club Necaxa, CD Santa Cruz (L), Magallanes CF, Montevideo City Torque
  • Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Secondary position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Mamelodi Sundowns played a 4-3-3 formation with a single pivot, so on paper Marcelo Allende played as the left central midfielder. With the Swallows playing such a low defensive block though, he wasn’t found on his own half a lot. Allende roamed from the left half-space to the right one, always looking to receive the ball or play short combinations, almost like an extra winger.

Allende was probably the smallest player on the pitch, standing at 1.68m. The Chilean didn’t fear the physical side of the game though, which he showed with quite a brave challenge around 15 minutes into the game. The 23-year-old did well to stay out of physical duels most of the times though. With his small frame, he is very agile and kept his opponents at distance with smartly timed body feints. Despite the Swallows playing such a low block, Allende still managed to find channels to move into in the box. Here he showed that he is quite quick on the first meters with decent speed over longer distances.

The Chilean is at his best with the ball at his feet, although the match against the Swallows may not be the best match to judge him on, as he wasn’t really pressed often. As I said Allende tried to be very involved in the attacking phases, always looking to receive the ball. He would often move slightly to one of the flanks and receive the ball there. From here he would either cut inside to create more passing opportunities or find a pass to the overlapping winger/fullback. He is a smart player with good vision and has a lot of flair, playing a couple of lovely lobbed-through passes over his direct opponent. Allende didn’t really try to dribble at his opponents, but there were a few moments where he showcased his great ball control and that he is comfortable using both feet when dribbling.

Rating – A2

Marcelo Allende looked like a great player, but I have to see more of him since he didn’t get a lot of resistance in this game. He is great on the ball, but I’m curious how he does in matches where he is pressed more and is in more duels. He also barely had to do any defensive work this game and since he is not a very physical player I want to see what he offers in that aspect of the game.

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Cassius Mailula

  • Nationality: South-African
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 12/06/2001
  • Club: Mamelodi Sundowns
  • Career: Mamelodi Sundowns
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary position: Right Winger
  • Preferred foot: Left

It was quite a difficult match for Cassius Mailula playing as the lone striker for Mamelodi Sundowns against the Swallows’ five-man defence. The South-African mainly got involved when moving to one of the halfspaces and trying to link up with his teammates from there. Mailula doesn’t quite have the physique of an average striker. Standing at 1.73m you would maybe expect him to play from the wing instead, but he showed some promising things from the centre.

The 21-year-old has started the season very well with a goal contribution every 48 minutes (4G/1A) and added another assist to his tally against the Swallows. In the 67th minute, Mailula received a pass from winger Themba Zwane, who made a great run. Mailula took a touch with his left foot and turned his body, like he was going to cut inside, but then played it right back to Zwane who scored.

Mailula may not look like the most impressive player physically, but the youngster just has such good control over his body. On the ball in tighter spaces, you will constantly see him do body feints, almost like he is stuttering, keeping his opponents at a distance. He also has great agility and balance and definitely isn’t very easy to get off the ball. He looked pretty fast on the first few meters with okay speed over longer distances. Technically Mailula also looked pretty good. A moment that stands out in my head was in the 38th minute where he created a decent chance for his teammate with a fantastic first touch backheel pass at the edge of the box. His first touches with his left foot looked very solid, also comfortable receiving the ball with his back to the goal. Mailula showed good spatial awareness, scanning well, and tried a couple of risky through passes but was a bit unlucky with his opponents just intercepting those.

Rating – A2

Cassius Mailula reminded me quite a bit of Percy Tau, who also came from Mamelodi Sundowns. The 21-year-old did very well, but I thought he wasn’t involved quite enough throughout the match. I would really like to see him play against a side that plays a bit of a higher block to properly look at his positioning and movement in the final third.

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