Brazilians seek to extend log lead

Sundowns gunning for victory against Baroka

Neville Khoza Journalist
Nhlanhla Magaga of Baroka challenged by Andile Jali of Mamelodi Sundowns
Nhlanhla Magaga of Baroka challenged by Andile Jali of Mamelodi Sundowns
Image: Muzi Ntombela/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns will look to continue with their excellent run in the DStv Premiership when they visit Baroka FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

The Brazilians are fresh from their Caf Champions League group stage qualification on Tuesday following their 5-1 aggregate win over Jwaneng Galaxy at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

They also defeated title rivals Orlando Pirates 1-0 at the same venue last Saturday and will be desperate to continue with that run and extend their lead at the top of the table.

With Downs being tied in first place with Swallows on 21 points each, from nine matches, with six wins and three draws, they will want to continue putting pressure on them by winning against Baroka.

Swallows will face Pirates in the Soweto derby on Sunday in what will be another test for them in their title aspirations.

Downs co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi is banking on his side's depth as they look to continue doing well both in the domestic and continental competitions.

“I must say they [Baroka] have started very well this season. They are a very hard running team, and for whatever reasons, they are one team that gives us trouble,” Mngqithi explains.

“Mostly here at home; away we usually get a draw or a win. But I must say that they have some top players. [Evidence] Makgopa, the striker, is looking very interesting for them. Thami Masiya is also an important player for them, and Richard Mbulu has started the season like a house on fire.

“So we understand what we are facing. We know it is an important game. But no game is less important. At Sundowns we have to win even a friendly match.

“When you get a draw, you don’t get excited because we know we deserve to win. So, maybe our depth will come into play.”

Mngqithi, who made several changes on Tuesday against Galaxy, is expected to make more changes during their visit to Polokwane as captain Hlompho Kekana is likely to start.

The veteran skipper missed the opening two matches in the new year after he was rested, and Mngqithi feels he may not be happy when he is not playing.

“It was also nice to see our captain coming back to play [against Galaxy on Tuesday] after a very long layoff. It was interesting to see him because the reason we are not playing him is that we want him to be fresh,” Mngqithi said.

“He may not like it that he is not playing regularly, but we believe he might be more important for us going forward than continuing and killing his pace.”

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