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Football | Absa Premiership

Percy Tau with Jeremy Brockie © Gallo Images

Downs out to sustain title charge



Golden Arrows will try to halt Mamelodi Sundowns’ seemingly unrelenting march to the Absa Premiership title when the teams meet at Loftus Stadium on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 7:30pm CAT.

Sundowns picked up a fourth successive league win – and extended their unbeaten run to nine matches – with a 2-0 home victory over Bidvest Wits on 14 April. The Tshwane side’s goals were netted by Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi.

The Brazilians have claimed 20 points from 13 home matches this season, and are unbeaten as hosts since they lost 3-1 against Orlando Pirates in mid-January.

Arrows played to their 13th draw of the season when they were held 1-1 at home by Free State Stars on 7 April. The Durban side have won just two of their last nine league matches for a haul of 10 points from a possible 27 in the sequence.

Abafana Bes’thende have claimed 15 points from 13 away matches this season, with their last result on the road a 1-0 win at Cape Town City on 4 April.

In head-to-head stats, Arrows and Sundowns have met in 33 league matches since 2000/01. The Brazilians have claimed 16 wins compared to nine for Abafana Bes’thende, while eight matches have been drawn. The Tshwane side has won eight of their 16 home matches against their Durban counterparts, suffering two defeats in the process.

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When the teams met earlier this season, ‘Downs claimed a 1-0 away win in December 2017 thanks to an early goal from Bangaly Soumahoro. The Brazilians have won their last three successive matches against Abafana Bes’thende without conceding a single goal.

Previous starting line-ups

Sundowns’ line-up from their 2-0 win over Wits on 14 April: Onyango, Ngcongca, Nascimento, Arendse, Langerman, Kekana, Mabunda, Sirino (Manyisa 76’), Vilakazi (Morena 58’), T. Zwane, Tau.

Arrows’ line-up from their 1-1 draw with Stars on 7 April: Mbaeva, Mzava, Mathiane, Mngwengwe (Magubane 61’), Nkombelo, Bilankulu, Zuke (Jooste 63’), Shongwe, Venter, Lamola, Ndwandwe.

Head-to-Head

LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers
2011/12 Sundowns 0-0 Arrows
2012/13 Arrows 1-0 Sundowns Khuboni
2012/13 Sundowns 1-1 Arrows Tom (og); Gabuza
2013/14 Arrows 0-1 Sundowns Wome
2013/14 Sundowns 2-0 Arrows Billiat, Laffor
2015/16 Arrows 2-1 Sundowns Khenyeza, Chapman; T. Zwane
2015/16 Sundowns 0-0 Arrows
2016/17 Sundowns 3-0 Arrows Kekana, Vilakazi, T. Zwane
2016/17 Arrows 0-2 Sundowns Kekana, Madisha
2017/18 Arrows 0-1 Sundowns Soumahoro

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2000/01)

Home

P W D L GF GA
Sundowns 16 8 6 2 28 13
Arrows 17 7 2 8 17 18

Away

P W D L GF GA
Sundowns 17 8 2 7 18 17
Arrows 16 2 6 8 13 28

Total

P W D L GF GA
Sundowns 33 16 8 9 46 30
Arrows 33 9 8 16 30 46

What the teams are saying:

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane
“I think we started very well to be honest. We created chances, scored our first two goals. Sometimes we elaborated too much, passing and passing instead of shooting, but we scored the two goals and that’s it,” Mosimane told SuperSport TV after their 2-0 win over Wits on Saturday.

“Second half you know the story. They have to react and we have to manage the game. It’s a heavy load, that’s why 'Vila' [Sibusiso Vilakazi] was taken off, we need him. I don’t like rotating a lot but we have to manage the game.

“This game was very important, I didn’t want to highlight it too much but in the dressing room they knew about it. It gives us for the fourth year in a row a [Caf] Champions League spot.”

Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen
“I’d rather be playing the likes of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at this stage of the season, than an Ajax Cape Town or Platinum Stars who are fighting for their lives,” Larsen explained ahead of this match.

“It’s easy to get the boys motivated – they are self-motivated when playing against these big teams, but you’ve really got to drive them when playing against the so-called smaller teams.

“Right now, going into the games against the bigger clubs, I know we’ll get a lot more out of them – it’s often the case that they’re trying to impress the bigger clubs. Coming from a smaller club I did that in my career too.”

Mamelodi Sundowns key players

Percy Tau: The young striker may not have scored in the 2-0 win over Wits this past weekend, but he notched up two further assists and remains the Brazilians’ most potent force in the final third of the field.

Ricardo Nascimento: A steadying presence at the back, Brazilian defender Nascimento has made a strong return to prominence in Sundowns’ first team in recent weeks and they will need him to be at his vigilant best against a potent Arrows attack.

Golden Arrows key players

Siphelele Magubane: A scorer in Arrows’ last outing (a 1-1 draw against Free State Stars earlier this month), 25-year-old attacker Magubane will be looking to make even more of a name for himself and attract potential suitors with a strong showing against Sundowns.

Maximilian Mbaeva: Arrows’ first-choice goalkeeper is likely to be a busy man against a free-flowing Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld, but he has put in fine performances against the Tshwane giants before and will be looking to stymie their goal-scoring ambitions.



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