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Jali points main threats ahead of Downs-Royal first tie

Champs to keep check on Letsoalo, Mahlasela

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Andile Jali of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Andile Jali of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Shaun Roy/BackPagePix/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns midfield anchor Andile Jali has augmented their clash against Royal AM by revealing they’ve long been longing to face the trendy KwaZulu-Natal club.

Sundowns and Royal face off for the first time in history in a league match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium today at 3.30pm. Both teams head into this fixture on the back of frustrating stalemates. Royal drew goalless against AmaZulu on Saturday, while leaders Sundowns were held  to a 1-all  draw by Stellenbosch on the same day.

“We have been waiting to play this game [against Royal]. This game is more important, especially because we’ve just lost two points against Stellenbosch. So, now we’re motivated. Everyone is willing to fight,’’ Jali said yesterday.

“We know what Royal are capable of but we’re prepared. They will come to us already motivated because everyone wants to prove they can play well against Sundowns.’’

The 31-year-old Downs midfielder identified striker Victor Letsoalo, who boasts six league strikes, and Kabelo Mahlasela as Royal’s danger men, urging his teammate to keep a close eye on the pair today.

“We know that Letsoalo has been scoring. We have to be careful of their speed when they go forward. Mahlasela is also brilliant. We must take care of them,’’ noted Jali.

Meanwhile, on the back of a rather lacklustre display that saw them draw goalless against Usuthu, it goes without saying that Royal need an improved performance if they’re to get a result against Sundowns.

Even coach John Maduka wasn’t shy to admit they put in a below par shift against provincial foes AmaZulu away. The 51-year-old tactician insinuated such poor performances won’t take them anywhere, demanding more from his charges going forward. Royal failed to register even a single shot on target.

“It was not us against AmaZulu. We managed the clean sheet, meaning we we were a bit decent in defence but from the midfield going forward we weren’t good enough. Players were just off,’’ said Maduka post the Usuthu draw.

"When you have five, six players who’re not in their element on that particular day, it’s difficult for you to win. Every time when we were on possession, we couldn’t even make four or five passes together. We were also not sharp in the final third… no runs. If we want to continue winning games we must do more.’’

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