Sundowns, Maritzburg set for battle

Mamelodi Sundowns will welcome Maritzburg United hoping for a third win in a row in their Absa Premiership assignment on Wednesday night at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm.

The Brazilians will be chasing a win and looking to avenge their 1-0 loss in the MTN8 earlier in the season at home.

However, with both sides coming from two consecutive wins, the encounter could go either way and the full three points are on offer.

In their recent games, Sundowns are fresh from 4-0 and 1-0 wins over Baroka FC and Golden Arrows respectively.

Sitting at the top of the log table with 22 points from 11 matches has boosted coach Pitso Mosimane’s side as they want to end this year sitting on top.

Looking at the Team of Choice, United are also high in confidence as they beat Cape Town City 4-2 and thumped Bakgaga Ba Mpahlele 3-0 last week.

Heading to Tshwane, they will be hoping to bag their second win over their hosts in all competitions and their third consecutive win in the league.

Coach Fadlu Davids has praised his men after their win over Baroka, but wants more from them to keep winning their league matches.

On the log, they occupy the eighth spot with 17 points from 12 matches and will be gunning to reach the 20 points.

Previous starting XI

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Langerman, Soumahoro, Morena, Madisha, Manyisa, Kekana, Mabunda, Vilakazi, Zwane, Tau

Maritzburg United: Ofori, Sanoka, Xulu, Fransman, Shandu, Maboe, Ndlovu, Mekoa, Makaringe, Rusike, Mokate

Head-to-Head

LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2012/13 Sundowns 1-2 Maritzburg Mushekwi; Buckley 2

2012/13 Maritzburg 0-3 Sundowns Mphela, Shongwe, Mushekwi

2013/14 Sundowns 2-2 Maritzburg Mashego, Billiat; Smeekes, M. Booysen

2013/14 Maritzburg 1-1 Sundowns Isaacks; Schut

2014/15 Sundowns 1-1 Maritzburg Mashego; Awal (pen)

2014/15 Maritzburg 1-2 Sundowns Lentjies; Laffor 2

2015/16 Sundowns 3-0 Maritzburg T. Zwane, Langerman, Moriri

2015/16 Maritzburg 2-3 Sundowns Rusike, Onyango; Kekana 2, Billiat

2016/17 Maritzburg 0-0 Sundowns

2016/17 Sundowns 2-2 Maritzburg Zakri 2; Onyango, Rusike

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2005/06)

Home Away Total

P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA

Sundowns 11 7 3 1 22 9 Sundowns 11 7 2 2 23 10 Sundowns 22 14 5 3 45 21

Maritzburg 11 2 2 7 10 23 Maritzburg 11 1 3 7 9 22 Maritzburg 22 3 5 14 21 45

What the teams are saying

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder George Lebese:

“At the moment‚ the team is doing very well and we want to end the season on a high and give our supporters something to enjoy this festive season‚” Lebese said.

“Obviously I am not happy with the contributions that I have made so far to Mamelodi Sundowns.

“As a player you want to be playing every match but I respect the decision of the coach because I know that the players who are playing ahead of me are doing well at the moment.

“It is not going to be easy but we will try to get all the nine points in our remaining three games of the year against Maritzburg on Wednesday‚ Bloemfontein Celtic and Cape Town City.”

Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids:

“When things were not going well‚ we kept on motivating the younger players but we have two tough games against Sundowns and Arrows,” said Davids.

“Hopefully we will end the year well. Right now‚ the main thing is to focus on the next match against Sundowns‚ who are by far the best team in the league.

“I think the league is theirs already because nobody will catch them.

“SuperSport United are the other team with games but, Sundowns are the best in the league and in Africa and we must prepare very well for them.”

Key players for Mamelodi Sundowns

Denis Onyango: The big Ugandan goalkeeper has been crucial for the club as they want to challenge for the league title. He has managed to keep three clean sheets in their two wins and one draw against Chippa United.

Tiyani Mabunda: Mabunda has done well in the heart of the team and will want to produce another stellar performance come Wednesday. His combination play with Hlompho Kekana and the ability to help the defence will be key at Loftus Versfeld.

Key players for Maritzburg United

Deolin Mekoa: The left-footed winger has always given Sundowns tough times whenever the two sides meet. His crosses and pace on the left flank will be a key weapon for the Maritzburg side.

Evans Rusike: One of the most difficult players to close down in the United squad. He has also given a good account of himself whenever they face Mosimane’s men and has scored crucial goals for United.