Mamelodi Sundowns will look to stretch their DStv Premiership unbeaten run when they face SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday evening.
Masandawana are unchallenged in the top-flight standings after an initially encouraging start to the 2021/22 season and a midweek victory that solidified their reign top of the league table with a 12 point gap between them and third placed Matsatsantsa. In their previous thrilling encounter last month, Downs took the lead in the Capital derby and showed much more authority on their home ground for much of the clash, however United showed spirit of their own to pull two goals back and equalize at the end of the day. Downs Coach Manqoba Mngqithi reflected on the previous encounter, describing the meeting between the two Tshwane teams as captivating.
“Sundowns and SuperSport always play very interesting football that’s what I always pride the Tshwane derby with. It’s always an interesting match for the spectators to watch, it’s usually a match that’s full of goals, but more than anything, now that we drew and conceded our first two goals of the season in that match, I think everybody will be hyped up for this match. We must just be on guard against anxiety and a little bit of arrogance to think that we deserved to win the previous match so naturally we are entitled to win this one. There’s no game that we are entitled to win, we must work very hard and roll our sleeves up knowing that SuperSport is going to be a hard nut to crack, but our boys understand what is expected of them and we will give it our best shot, because there’s no game that we believe we deserve to lose at Sundowns, we believe we can always win every match that we play.”
With pressure weighing down on them after their recent success, Matsatsantsa and Royal AM remain the only teams in the league to have put two goals past Bafana Ba Style, meanwhile the defending Champions are known for their goal scoring appetite with an average of two goals per match. Coach Manqoba is confident that his team will bag maximum points and the Tshwane bragging rights – as they should have done in the previous meeting.
“We conceded two goals against SuperSport in a game that we all believe we could’ve easily wrapped with more goals and not just two. Ronwen [Williams] always made some sterling saves in the match, but the truth is that we are now facing a new chapter and we have to focus on what’s in front of us and give it our best shot. We never believed that we deserved a draw in the previous match, and the same feeling will go into this match saying that at Sundowns we believe that we can win this match.”
The Brazilians sparked interest when they made changes to their regular starting line-up during midwseek’s encounter to give some of their talents an opportunity to play and make their way into the playing squad. Middleman Andile Jali is amongst the players that will miss the weekend’s derby after receiving a yellow card midweek, coach Manqoba showed no panic in losing one of his regular players and said that it’s a good time to introduce the other players.
“Circumstances are also favoring us now because in this match we were without Rivaldo [Coetzee] because he got a booking in Stellenbosch which gave him a chance to rest a little bit, coming into the next game AJ also got a booking and is out for the next match, but we’ve got the benefit of Riva coming back from the suspension. Those are the elements that always freshen the team, we are not always in total control. Now Mosa [Lebusa] is injured and that gives Rushine [De Reuck], Grant [Kekana] or Ricardo [Nascimento] a chance. We are always going to accept what the game gives us because we are not always in control of the game and what happens.”
This DStv Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United will be played on Saturday and kick off at 20h15. The game will be televised live on SuperSport Channel 202.