Sundowns continue Absa title chase

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Absa South Africa Premier Soccer League title contenders Mamelodi Sundowns are back in action on Wednesday night when they face AmaZulu at the King Goodwill Zwelithini stadium with three points sure to guarantee them second place.

Coached by Zimbabwean Ian Gorowa, Sundowns beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 at the weekend to move into third place and this postponed game against AmaZulu, second place and perhaps the title, is now only theirs to lose.

As things stand on the log, Ajax Cape Town are the leaders with 59 points, Orlando Pirates are second with 56-both having played 28 games.

The Brazilians, as Sundowns are affectionately known, are third on 54 and Chiefs on fourth and a point behind.

Three means moving two behind leaders Ajax.
The Brazilians will welcome back skipper Esrom Nyandoro from suspension to form the midfield partnership with Mathew Pattison.

Having played a superb game against Chiefs, defender Method Mwanjali is a definite starter in the Sundowns back four together with the club’s leading scorers Katlego Mphela and Nyasha Mushekwi, while Elias Pelembe has been given a free role.

In the latest issue of Kick Off, the Mozambican reveals how Gorowa has turned the club’s confidence around, adopting an attacking system.
“The coach wanted the whole team to play in a defensive style,” says Pelembe, who scored Sundowns’ second goal in the Chiefs win.

“Now, it is all about going forward for me.”

Mphela and Mushekwi have been the main beneficiaries in the new system, and Gorowa has given Pelembe licence to roam freely away from his usual starting position on the right flank.

The 27-year-old’s displays against Vasco da Gama and Ajax Cape Town proved that this new-found versatility is a nightmare for opposition defenders.

“The coach has been really good for everyone at the club because he has given us freedom,” he revealed. “We are not playing under pressure any more, and that has given us the confidence to play well and fight for the coach.

“We have shown in the last few matches that we are determined to do it . . . We just have to fight on the pitch and we will achieve it.”

AmaZulu are still nursing their wounds after being beaten 2-1 by Ajax Cape Town on Friday and will be hoping for victory over their visitors to move away from the relegation zone.

Speaking to KickOff.com, AmaZulu captain Belux Bukasa Kasonga promised the Brazilians no favours in Durban on Wednesday.

“They are still angry after we beat them in the first round and will want revenge tonight but unfortunately for them this time we are highly motivated and playing in front of our families and supporters. We can’t afford to disappoint them at home.

“We don’t care that Sundowns are chasing the league title; our ambition is to fight hard for the three points and get ourselves into a top 8 position.”

AmaZulu welcome back defender Thami Sangweni who travelled to Malawi to play for AmaGlug-glug during their All Africa Games qualifier in Blantyre this weekend.

Top scorers:

Knowledge Musona (Kaizer Chiefs) 13
Katlego Mphela (Sundowns) 12
Bradley Grobler (Platinum Stars) 12
Nyasha Mushekwi (Sundowns) 11
Lehlohonolo Majoro (AmaZulu) 11
Sibusiso Zuma (Vasco Da Gama) 10
Collins Mbesuma (Golden Arrows) 10
Thembinkosi Fanteni (Ajax) 10
Thulani Serero (Ajax) 10
Erwin Isaacs (Santos) 9