Ajax face Sundowns challenge in the ‘Mother City’

Ajax face Sundowns challenge in the ‘Mother City’
Anthony Laffor of Mamelodi Sundowns tackled by Mosa Lebusa of Ajax Cape Town during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa on 25 April 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Jan 08, 2018. 10:30

Ajax Cape Town will have the challenge of trying to stymie Mamelodi Sundowns in an Absa Premiership match at Cape Town Stadium on 9 January 2018, kick-off at 19h30.

Ajax come into the match having suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Maritzburg United on January 5. It was a second successive league loss for the Cape Town side, which has managed just one victory in their last seven outings to leave them marooned in the relegation zone.

The Urban Warriors have performed adequately at home so far this season, with 11 points from seven matches. Prior to losing at home to Maritzburg on the weekend, Ajax had claimed seven points from their previous three turns as hosts.

Sundowns come into this midweek clash on the back of a surprise 3-2 loss away to Polokwane City on January 6. The Tshwane side led the game thanks to an early goal, but ended up suffering their first away defeat of the 2017/18 season - it was also City’s first home win of the campaign.

The Brazilians had been unbeaten on the road until their weekend trip to the Limpopo province, but a haul of 19 points from eight away games this season is still an outstanding record. Yet Pitso Mosimane will still be very keen to see his side snap a two-game losing streak.

In head-to-head stats, Ajax and Sundowns have met in 36 league matches since 1999/2000. The Brazilians have claimed 14 wins compared to 11 for the Urban Warriors, while 11 matches have been drawn. The Cape side has won seven of 18 home league matches in the rivalry, suffering five defeats in the process.

When the teams met last season, Ajax claimed a 2-0 home in in the first half of the campaign, but ‘Downs claimed revenge with a victory by the same margin in the return game. The Urban Warriors are unbeaten in their last five home matches against the Brazilians.

Ajax’s line-up from their 2-1 loss to Maritzburg on January 5: Petersen, Ouattara (Nhlapo 71'), Pietersen (Makua 46'), Lebusa, Malepe, Mdabuka, Losper, Mosadi, Morris, Lakay (Phohlongo 77').

Sundowns’ line-up from their 3-2 loss to Polokwane on January 6: Onyango, Langerman, Madisha, Nascimento, Ngcongca (S. Zwane 46’), Manyisa, Kekana (Zakri 88’), Mabunda, Lebese (Laffor 46’), T. Zwane, Tau.

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