mphela throws down gauntlet

THIS match is a potential title decider, according to Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela.

Throwing down the gauntlet to pacesetters SuperSport United, whom they meet at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria at 7.30pm, Mphela said: "My target was 16 goals, and I have already scored them. Now I would like to score more than 20, starting tonight."

Defending champions United are under tremendous pressure to keep a tight grip on their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership table. The battle for supremacy between these two Pretoria sides and the euphoria that comes with derbies make this clash a potential humdinger.

The gap between Matsatsantsa a Pitori and the Brazilians is just six points. Victory for Downs will narrow the gap to three points.

Fierce competition is expected and that will mean that the temporary brotherly love that was displayed when these Pretorians defeated Soweto sides Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on November 25 will be forgotten tonight.

In those matches the Tshwane sides defeated the Soweto giants with 2-0 margins, and their victories brought their fans together.

United striker Anthony Laffor played down the pressure they were under into the game.

"We are not feeling any pressure," he said. "A draw will be a good result for us. We are treating this match like any other match and we are not doing anything out of the ordinary."

Laffor seems to have forgotten that Downs boast Mphela, who has an insatiable thirst for goals.

"We will not focus on Mphela alone but on the entire Sundowns team," Laffor said, also urging their fans to come out and support them.

l United have urged all people who bought tickets for the washed-out game to go to Park Street, where United usually sell tickets for their home games, to get new ones.

l Kaizer Chiefs meet AmaZulu at Loftus tomorrow night, while Jomo Cosmos welcome Santos at Rand Stadium. Both matches start at 7.30pm.

l Swallows host Free State Stars at Dobsonville Stadium at 3.30pm, also tomorrow.