Absa Premiership

Preview: Chippa United v Mamelodi Sundowns

2017-02-14 07:53
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns can move within three points of the Premiership summit with victory over Chippa United at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Tuesday night.

Due to their participation in the CAF Champions League and the Club World Cup, the Brazilians are still playing catch-up domestically and have between three and six games in hand on their league counterparts.

Despite this, Sundowns are in a healthy fifth spot after a scintillating run of form which has yielded eight wins from nine top-flight outings.

A win in midweek would move the defending champions to 28 points, three behind current pacesetters Cape Town City.

Pitso Mosimane's side head into the game on the back of the 6-0 thrashing they dished out to Orlando Pirates on Saturday at Loftus Stadium, where after 82 minutes proceedings were halted for an hour due to a pitch invasion and general ugly scenes of fighting and property destruction.

The incident and the general aftermath may have affected the Downs players' focus, and Mosimane's biggest job will to try and help his charges forget about, for now at least, an afternoon which at one point seemed very likely to claim lives.

However, on the evidence of their play Sundowns were at their breathtaking best, using skill and combination play to run rings around Pirates and virtually walk the ball into the net on occasion - Mosimane does not have much work to do on the tactical side of things.

Chilli Boys coach Dan Malesela saw his team get off to winning start in 2017 when a late goal secured a 2-1 win at struggling Baroka FC. That victory has left Chippa in ninth position, 12 points off the summit.

Their goals-against tally is decent - 13 conceded in 15 matches, but they have only managed one clean sheet in the last five matches, and will be severely tested when facing the likes of Khama Billiat, Leonardo Castro, Anthony Laffor and Percy Tau.

Malesela, a former Sundowns defender, says the injury-time win over Bakgaga could be a crucial morale-booster ahead of Tuesday's tough encounter.

"You need to boost the confidence of the players going into East London playing against Sundowns because, obviously, you know Sundowns is not going to be an easy team," he said.

"You need that confidence to say 'if you lose against Baroka and you go to Sundowns - to some of the new boys, what are you saying to them? Where are they going to get confidence?' So we needed the three points."

In team news, 'Downs centre-back Wayne Arendse will be available again after serving a one-match suspension.

Menzi Masuku was injured against Baroka while Mbulelo Wambi was substituted in the first half and it will remain to be seen if the Chippa pair are passed fit.

Read more on:    chippa united  |  mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  soccer

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