Absa Premiership

Sundowns ready to climb to third spot

2019-01-16 08:52
Rivaldo Coetzee
Rivaldo Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns can move into third place on the Absa Premiership table if they beat lowly Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday.

Off the back from their impressive 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs 10 days ago, Pitso Mosimane's charges will certainly be targeting another full haul of points against bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg when the sides meet in Pretoria on Wednesday evening.

Maritzburg currently find themselves in a deep hole, having lost four straight games over the past month. They haven't earned any points in the league since a 1-1 draw with Black Leopards on December 12, and their last victory in the South African top flight was way back in October, a 2-1 result over Highlands Park.

With Muhsin Ertugral having come on board as their new coach at the end of December, United fans will be hoping the 59-year-old's influence is felt sooner rather than later.

One bright spot for The Team of Choice is that two new forwards - Thabiso Kutumela, signed on a three-year deal from Orlando Pirates, and Judas Moseamedi, on loan from Cape Town City - will be making their debuts on Wednesday.

“Kutumela has been featuring regularly for Pirates but Judas hasn’t been playing. These are natural strikers and we are hopeful that they will help us. They will make a huge difference,” Ertugral told IOL website.

“We are in better shape now. Makaringe (Fortune) is back and Kutumela has just come in. It is not going to be a quick fix, because we can’t fix it in two matches. We haven’t scored more goals.

"When I arrived, the team had scored five goals (in 14 matches). It doesn’t start upfront, but it starts in the midfield. How you hold the ball determines a lot of things. Having Ndlovu (Siphesihle) and Makaringe will give us a different dimension."

Sundowns, meanwhile, will want to put Friday's disappointing 2-1 loss to Nigeria's Lobi Stars in the CAF Champions League behind them and focus on their league exploits, where they've enjoyed much more success.

Mosimane's men have now gone 26 matches unbeaten in the league, and should they overcome Maritzburg as widely expected, the Brazilians will leapfrog Polokwane into third place on the table, putting them just three points behind Orlando Pirates in second - with three additional games in hand.

Speaking to Soccer Laduma website, Sundowns forward Jeremy Brockie says they won't be taking Maritzburg lightly, despite the club's lowly position on the log.

“They (Maritzburg) are in quite a good position in terms of that, they can come and express themselves, they can't do any worse than what they have been doing of late," said the New Zealander.

“They are still a good team with quality players and if we take our foot off the peddle then they’re likely to punish us, so it is important that we get off to a good start and keep the pressure on the teams above us we’ve got to make the most of these games in hand to keep climbing up the table."

One area of concern for Downs will be Masandawana talisman Gaston Sirino, who is sitting on three yellow cards and needs to avoid another or face suspension.

The match gets under way at 19:30 on Wednesday evening.

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

 

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Fixtures
Friday, 22 February 2019
Chippa United v Golden Arrows, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 23 February 2019
Cape Town City v Maritzburg United, Athlone Stadium 15:30
Polokwane City v Kaizer Chiefs, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
Wits v Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Stadium 18:00
SuperSport United v Baroka FC, Lucas Moripe Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v AmaZulu, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Bloemfontein Celtic v Free State Stars, Dr Molemela Stadium 15:30
Black Leopards v Highlands Park, Thohoyandou Stadium 15:30
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