Birds and Downs have score to settle
THE side that can maintain their attacking form but tighten up on a leaky defence will run out winners in Sunday's MTN8 semifinal second leg at Dobsonville Stadium, the players of Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns said yesterday.
In a 3-3 first-leg draw at Lucas Moripe Stadium both sides could claim they might have been winners had they not conceded soft goals.
Downs perhaps controlled more of the game in attack and spurned numerous chances in between scoring. Swallows were dangerous on the counter-attack and took their chances.
Afterwards Downs coach Johan Neeskens said his defence had not played to instruction in often being caught flat-footed. Neeskens was also criticised for deploying Esrom Nyandoro in defence, where the Zimbabwean struggled to match the Birds frontline for pace.
Brazilians goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands had the best view of his side's defensive display in the first leg. "With Swallows what we've got to do is make sure we're really organised, even when we have the ball," Sandilands said.
He said the first-leg scoreline might work to Sundowns' advantage. "At least we know we have to win. If we had come away with a 1-0 lead it would have been dangerous to go to Dobsonville and try and defend. We just want to play our normal way, and that's to go out and win every game."
Midfield general Teko Modise said the Brazilians feel an obligation to their fans to try to win a trophy. "We know that this season, it's now or never," the Bafana star said. "It's tiring now to always talk about the same thing and say we will, we will, and next thing we don't deliver.
"We have to justify our contracts, and justify being a Sundowns player. If other teams can do it with less quality than we have, then there's a problem within us as players."
Birds captain Lefa Tsutsulupa said the arrival of striker Katlego Mashego, who scored on debut in Swallows's 1-1 league draw against Ajax Cape Town at home on Wednesday, had brought further quality to last season's PSL runners-up:
"He plays well, he plays for the club, and (on Wednesday) he showed it."