Sundowns return to Premiership action

Mamelodi Sundowns will chase their first home win in the Absa Premiership this season when they host Highlands Park at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm CAT.

Sundowns picked up a fine victory in their last league outing, as goals from Ricardo Nascimento and Lebohang Maboe took them to a 2-0 win away to Polokwane City on August 7. The Tshwane giants come into the game on the back of a 1-0 loss away to Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the CAF Champions League on August 17.

The Brazilians are preparing to host their second league match of the 2018/19 season, with their first ended in a 1-1 draw with fellow heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs on the first weekend of the month.

Highlands played to a second successive draw at the start of the season when they were held 2-2 at home by fellow promoted club Black Leopards on August 9. Yet the Makhulong-based side will feel they let two points slip away, having held a 2-0 lead until injury time.

The Lions of the North’s first away game this season saw them draw 1-1 at Orlando Pirates on the opening weekend of the month, suggesting they can compete with the Absa Premiership’s best teams.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Highlands have met in two previous league matches. Both encounters took place in the 2016/17 season, with the Brazilians claiming a 5-0 home win in the first half of the campaign, while the return game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Previous line-ups:

Sundowns’ line-up from their 2-0 win over Polokwane on August 7: Onyango (Mweene 45'+6), Lakay, Morena, Nascimento, Madisha, Mabunda, Sirino (Langerman 84'), Manyisa, Zwane, Maboe, Brockie (Meza 69').

Highlands’ line-up from their 2-2 draw with Leopards on August 9: Kapini, Fransman, Motsepe, L. Mokoena (Msimango 67'), Ramoraka, Mvala, Zwane (Williams 69'), Mahlangu (Versuur 84'), Rae, Nyemb, M. Mokoena.



Season Result Scorers

2016/17 Sundowns 5-0 Highlands Tau, Laffor, Vilakazi, T. Zwane, Isaacs (og)
2016/17 Highlands 2-2 Sundowns Ledwaba, Mvala; T. Zwane, Nthethe (pen)

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2016/17) Home


Sundowns 1 1 0 0 5 0

Highlands 1 0 1 0 2 2



Sundowns 1 0 1 0 2 2

Highlands 1 0 0 1 0 5



Sundowns 2 1 1 0 7 2

Highlands 2 0 1 1 2 7

What the teams are saying;

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane

“It was a good game of high quality. First, congratulations to Wydad. They showed that they are a big team and they showed that they are the champions of Africa. I am happy with my team but I am not happy with the results,” said Mosimane in the wake of their loss to Wydad Casablanca.

“We didn’t sit back. We came here to win and we pressed from the first minute to force the goalkeeper to kick and make sure that Said doesn’t play. We achieved our objectives of making them play long balls. We dealt with the long balls properly. They are a good team. They are the champions, but we are also a good team. We came here to play.”

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama

"What I was disappointed about was the leadership on the field. We played football at the highest level and coached at a high level,” said the Highlands coach after his side surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Black Leopards.

“With five minutes to go it was very poor leadership for me on the day. We won't single out or blame anybody, we take it as a team. For us this is a loss.”

Mamelodi Sundowns key players

Jeremy Brockie – The New Zealand striker may not have been able to reproduce the prolific form he showed for SuperSport United, but his movement and influence as Sundowns’ point of attack has already made him an important figure for the league champions.

Themba Zwane – With Highlands Park likely to play in a somewhat defensive manner in this midweek clash, the ability of a playmaker like Themba Zwane to pick out key passes will be vital to the Brazilians’ game-plan.

Highlands Park key players

Tapuwa Kapini – With ‘Downs expected to dominate this clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, veteran goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini is set to be a busy man. The Zimbabwean shot-stopper may need to call on all of his experience and athleticism if he is to keep a clean sheet.

Mothobi Mvala – Highlands’ goal-scoring midfielder is a definite danger-man for Sundowns to look out for on Wednesday night. The 24-year-old is already highly regarded, but netting against the champions would raise his profile in South African football even further.