Mamelodi Sundowns will be looking to replace Kaizer Chiefs at the top of the Absa Premiership table with a victory over the Glamour Boys on Sunday. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN picks five Downs players who could fire them past a high-flying Chiefs side.
Pitso Mosimane’s charges will come into the encounter not only looking to usurp the top spot from Ernst Middendorp’s side at Loftus but with the memory of the 4-2 Shell Helix Cup defeat still fresh.
The encounter has been gaining hype after the media war of words by the two coaches, but come 3pm Sunday it’s the players that will have to do the talking on the pitch.
Here’s five Sundowns players who could prove vital if they are to claim the big victory over their fellow title chasers:
1) Mauricio Affonso
The massive Uruguay striker seems to be finally finding his feet for Masadawana after an injury-hit start at Chloorkop. Affonso has come on as a substitute and scored two goals in his last two appearances, his most recent an injury-time winner against Highlands Park on Wednesday.
The burly forward is still largely unknown in South African football and will prove to be a decisive test for the Amakhosi backline on Sunday, with his aerial prowess and strength – even if he comes on as a sub.
2) Gaston Sirino
Downs’ mercurial Uruguayan, like his compatriot, has had an indifferent start to the campaign after battling with injuries.
Sirino, though, was one of Mosimane’s standout players last season and after regaining fitness he looks to also be regaining form.
The forward netted from the spot in the Shell Helix Cup and will be determined to get revenge on the Glamour Boys.
3) Hlompho Kekana
The evergreen Sundowns captain has yet again been a key member of Mosimane’s team this season.
Kekana’s ability as an all-action midfielder will prove vital on Sunday as he looks to control the game from the centre of the park.
4) Mosa Lebusa
With Ricardo Nascimento out due to a long-term injury, Lebusa has really stepped up this season for Downs, cementing his spot in the starting lineup, while also receiving a Bafana Bafana call-up as reward for his good form.
Lebusa will have to be on top of his game to deal with the skill and pace of the likes of Billiat and Lebogang Manyama, as well as the aerial threat of Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic.
5) Dennis Onyango
A game of such magnitude is often determined by fine margins. That was the case last time these two sides met in the league, when Chiefs suffered a damaging 2-1 loss after a horror error of then goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
Onyango is one of the continent’s top keepers and will prove vital against Chiefs. The keeper missed Wednesday’s clash with Highlands due to a family bereavement and will be raring to go come kick-off on Sunday.
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