March 31 2017 – KAIZER Chiefs are out to settle the score against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Premiership on Saturday night at FNB Stadium.
Steve Komphela’s men are aware of what is at stake when it comes to a big encounter such as this one where both sides are in need of a win.
Pride, revenge and the three points is what will be on offer on the day and the two rivals are expected to offer their best football in the biggest match of the Premier Soccer League calendar.
The hosts are fresh from a 2-1 loss at the hands of Sundowns in Pretoria in November 2016 and will now want to avenge that defeat as they hope to remain in contention regarding the league title.
Although they wrapped their 2016 on a high, their 2017 has been mixed with unfavourable results as they drew three of their league matches.
They were held by Ajax Cape Town, Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby, but they managed to bag a 3-0 win over Stellenbosch United in the Nedbank Cup Last 32.
Looking at the log table, Amakhosi occupy the fourth spot with 36 points from 21 matches in their campaign and a win will elevate them closer to the top.
“As a coach you are judged on results, but still people are coming to the stadium for a show. We are happy the Bafana players came back injury free,” said Komphela.
“Sundowns and Chiefs, it will be a match of small margins, I foresee a very tough match.
“We will give them the respect they deserve. We are ready. The funny thing is that when we have to play Sundowns there has to be a break.
“Underdogs? I beg to differ, they are not underdogs, maybe they are seeking divine intervention.”
Looking at the visiting African and defending league champions, Sundowns have not done well in their previous league matches as they have dropped points.
Pressure is mounting on the Brazilians to transform their games in hand into points and that must happen by winning matches.
Although they will come to the FNB Stadium having an advantage of winning the first round tie, they must be ready for a fight as Chiefs will not want to lose twice.
Pitso Mosimane’s men lost to Cape Town City, but drew twice against Polokwane City and Chippa United in the league despite bagging a win over Mariveni United in the Ke Yona tournament.
On the other hand, Sundowns will be motivated by the fact that they are through to the group stages of the CAF Champions League after beating Uganda’s KCCA as they stand to defend their continental crown.
On the log standings, Sundowns occupy the fifth spot with 34 points from 17 league matches and a win will see them leap-frogging Amakhosi to the fourth spot.
“I prefer to have our international players to go and play out, it helped us, gave us experience,” said Mosimane.
“This is the time for smash and grabs. We have nine games in April, this is the time I ask for forgiveness, results are more important .
“We can’t train tomorrow (Friday), it is the calendar, no excuses. But all that’s important is to try and get three points‚ and it’s not going to be easy because at this point in time we are the underdogs.
“We envy Chiefs, we wish we could also win five in a row.” – ANA