Moment Of Truth For Downs

30/Jun/2017 13:03

It’s the moment of truth for African Champions Mamelodi Sundowns. When they trot onto the field on Saturday to take on Ethiopian champions St George in their penultimate group stage Confederation of African Football Champions League clash, it will be do or die.

The Tshwane Giants face a side that frustratingly held them scoreless in the reverse fixture in Atteridgeville, and now they face the daunting task of beating them at their 35 000 seater home ground which will no doubt be packed if their support in the away game is anything to go by.

Sundowns must win against St George, and then take the three points against AS Vita at home to advance to the next round. They cannot afford a loss.

Pitso Mosimane’s side has been limping through the campaign with injuries to some of their key players. While the front men miss Khama Billiat, it is the more critical defence line that has been giving the technical team headaches.

The result of this has been that inspirational captain Hlompho Kekana has been pinned back in a defensive role instead of leading the charge as he often does. Add to this that he was himself sidelined with injury, the problems Coach Pitso Mosimane has been facing are clear.

Yet, when they went out to take on Esperance in a similar environment the Brazilians showed resilience and forced a draw against all odds.

Sundowns will rue the missed chances against St George at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. They dominated the game while their opponents sat back. Yet, on their day, the Brazilians can cut through any defence, whether from wide positions or through the middle. It is perhaps in the latter area that Sundowns have missed the combination between Themba Zwane, Billiat and Percy Tau. Although Sibusiso Vilakazi has been coming of age in the Brazilians colors, the combination play that he is renowned for have not quite worked out.

Yet, he has two Champions League goals to his name, but he is capable of more. Ivorian Yannick Zakri is showing his quality, and clearly a combination between him, Billiat and Percy Tau will deliver the breakthrough play that Sundowns are known for. Tau has been scoring some critical goals for both club and national side, but the technical team would have been concerned about managing his decision making in the box. On his day, and in combination with Themba Zwane, they can destroy any defence.

The role of Tebogo Langerman in delivering the crosses from wide on the left have been very productive for Sundowns, and particularly for Leonardo Castro, whose presence in the box could be intimidating for the Ethiopians.

St George have twice lost to AS Vita Club in their only losses in their last seven outings, drawing against Esperance goalless, and 2-2 against Fasil Ketema in their domestic league.

Sundowns has been lukewarm this season, drawing five times in their last eight, but losing only once to Esperance at home, and showing that they are strong on the road by beating Vita 3-1.

Mosimane’s lads only need to replicate that form to see off St George.

The critical approach will need to be an early onslaught to get the goal that can shake St George out of their defensive shell. And they are capable of that as they have scored just over 28% of their goals in the first fifteen minutes, and a similar percentage between fifteen minutes and 30 minutes.

Sundowns goal minder Denis Onyango has made the point that his side needs to keep a clean sheet as a platform for victory. Much will depend on his role between the sticks.  He will have his rival in the Uganda national team, Robert Odongkara, on the opposite side, who will no doubt be out to prove that he is a better goalkeeper.

Mosimane’s defence is slowly coming right, with Wayne Arendse returning from injury to increase the coach’s options.

For the champions, it is do or die.

20 Responses to Moment Of Truth For Downs

  1. Mbez says:

    Kubo Masandawana we have to dig deep and bring 3 points home tomorrow

  2. Max Moloi says:

    Good luck boys , please use this match as a farewell for the Generall.

  3. Fish Bafana says:

    all the best team

  4. vusisizwe mpu says:

    give your all boys we are behind you all the way

  5. Evidence says:

    Win dat game , no amount of pressure can break u . KUBO KUBO KUBO

  6. ITDowns says:

    Reporting on the preparation leading to this crucial encounter has been limited. When did the team arrive in Ethiopia? Travelling squad? Due to the altitude difference, the guys should have arrived in Ethiopia early given that there are no domestic games.

    I do believe that of we prepared well, we can bring back the three points. I also hope the game is being televised.

    All the best The Sky is the Limit!

  7. mashasha says:

    Good luck Guys and bring back the 3 points.

  8. mandla weSundowns says:

    Masandawana we wish ourselves the very best. Please do not forget to have fun. Kaboyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellow

  9. Knoxman says:

    What is the announcement on Monday are we getting a new emblem and a new kit ???
    Good luck to the team we really need the 3 points and welcome back Tsotso

  10. Mxo says:

    Gud lucky guys

  11. kick boboza says:

    Good luck boys,May mighty lord protect you and please bring back the three points.that is very important.I wish Khama is available so to launch those counter attacks.GUUUUUD LUUUCK!


  13. dion says:

    I’m very proud of being a Mamelodi Sundowns fan and a great win today against ST George let’s go and fill up Lucas Moripe against AS Vita on Friday and march through the quaterfinal. KBY I remain forever.

  14. kick boboza says:

    Yes it is true,thank you boys and let us fill that stadium but can we fill Loftus?Masterpieces moripe is bewithced also well done to our brothers Supersport united Hard luck Platinum stars next time.Thank you Anthony.Eish i kicked and broke my wife’s new glass table with all the misses.

  15. Evidence says:

    Well done Guyz. I’m proud 2 be kby kayi1..

  16. Stephen Sandawana Modimolle says:

    We are through to the quarterfinals thanks for fighting until the end, all the best to our boys, it is confirmed

  17. billy says:

    Our technical team works tirelessly for this team. Our players are committed to the cause. Now let us stop criticizing our coaches, players and our management but begin to support our team like all supporters do across the length and breath of this continent.

  18. billy says:

    My advice to our technical team is for them to blood in youngsters from MDC team whom I believe are ready_ Boikanyo, Shozi, Mkhuma, Mkhize, Ngcobo the left back, Modise, Skippers, Mkhulisi, Majadibodi, Makgalwa, Motima and Sibanyoni. I know it is tough to promote all of them at once but please consider them even for future.

  19. billy says:

    Lebese, Xola Mlambo, Ntshangase from Leopards, Zuma and Brockie are the only players in my opinion that fit our bill as Sundowns.