High stakes with Downs and Arrows to tussle for final spot

Mamelodi Sundowns will go head to head with Lamontville Golden Arrows in a MTN8 semi-final second-leg match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 6:00 pm CAT.

Masandawana are carrying an advantage after scoring an away goal in the first-leg encounter which ended in a 1-1 draw in a match that was played in Durban a month ago.

Sundowns will book their place Top 8 Cup final for the first time since 2007 if they avoid a defeat having won this competition three times in 1988, 1990 and 2007.

The Tshwane giants are coming into this clash having claimed an impressive 2-0 victory over their Gauteng rivals Orlando Pirates in the DStv Premiership clash over the weekend.

Manqoba Mngqithi, the Sundowns co-head coach, says they have to give Arrows the necessary respect as they look to end their 14-year wait for the MTN8 trophy.

“We cannot be arrogant Arrows have not lost too many matches and are a dangerous team,” Mngqithi said following the team’s victory over Pirates.

“We have to give them the necessary respect. I expect a different team from the one that drew against Sekhukhune [United]. We struggled to lift the trophy and we will give it the focus necessary to win the title.”

Meanwhile, Arrows are coming into this encounter as the underdogs having extended their winless run to five matches across all competitions when they drew 1-1 with Sekhukhune United in a league game on Saturday.

Abafana Bes’thende are hoping to cause an upset against the reigning South African champions and reach the Top 8 Cup final for the second time having won the competition in 2009.

Lehlohonolo Seema, the Arrows head coach, says his charges to have to concentrate for the entire match if they are to defeat Sundowns, who are still undefeated this season.

“From the first whistle, Sundowns can hurt anyone. I don’t think they plan to beat teams in the second half. They keep on coming to you and change things around,” Seema said.

“That’s what I said that we need to bring our A-game in terms of concentration. We have to make sure we are structured and whenever we get a chance, we score.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mamelodi Sundowns

Andile Jali: The experienced midfielder is very influential in the Sundowns midfield having produced a Man of the Match performance against Pirates. Jali will be looking to control the game from midfield and put his side in a good position to secure a victory.

Peter Shalulile: The reigning DStv Premiership Footballer of the Year cannot stop scoring at the moment having netted four goals in his last three matches. Shalulile will be keen to continue his scoring form and inspire Downs to their fourth successive win.

Golden Arrows

Nqobeko Dlamini: The hard-working midfielder had a good game against Sundowns in the middle of the park in the first-leg clash and he scored for Arrows. Dlamini will be eager to dominate the midfield battle and help his side overcome the tournament favourites.

Michael Gumede: The quick forward came off the bench to score for Arrows as they drew with Sekhukhune and it was his second goal in his last three games. Gumede will be hoping to start against Sundowns and lead Abafana Bes’thende to a victory in Pretoria.

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