downs back in stride

NOW that they appear to have overcome a bad patch, Mamelodi Sundowns's clash at Super Stadium tonight with Orlando Pirates could not have come at a better time.

NOW that they appear to have overcome a bad patch, Mamelodi Sundowns's clash at Super Stadium tonight with Orlando Pirates could not have come at a better time.

The Brazilians have quietly worked their way up from a rather unfortunate position they occupied as recently as four matches ago, and with some of their influential players slowly returning to fitness, the elements needed for an absorbing encounter are all there.

With former Ajax Cape Town defender Fernando Ferreria now also a part of the Brazilians, the side should be even more formidable, provided he strikes the right balance with the rest of Hristo Stoichkov's players. Meanwhile, Lebohang Mokoena has quietly made an impression, even finding the back of the net for Downs.

"We all seem to be combining much better, and in the last three matches have taken our chances," Mokoena said yesterday.

Of his goal against Mpumalanga Black Aces, Mokoena said: "I'm glad it gave the team the three points. And that has taken a lot of pressure off me so I can enjoy my game and try and play more often."

Bucs' Katlego Mashego said he was wary of his namesake, Katlego Mphela: "Look, the guy is the top goal-scorer (11 goals)."

Mashego's confidence is on the up, as demonstrated by the goal he scored against Ajax Cape Town at the weekend.

Both teams will miss some of their players. Downs' Innocent Mdledle is suspended, while Surprise Moriri, Matthew Booth and Lerato Chabangu have not yet recovered from injuries.

Pirates' Teko Modise, Lucas Thwala, Siphelele Mthembu and Thebinkosi Fanteni will miss the match. Kickoff is at 7.30pm.

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