Sundowns, Stars looking to bounce back

Sundowns, Stars looking to bounce back
Thabo Nthethe of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Bonginkosi Ntuli of Platinum Stars during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Platinum Stars on 04 May 2017 at Lucas Moripe Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Jan 19, 2018. 12:30

Mamelodi Sundowns and Platinum Stars will both be looking to bounce back from weekend defeats in the Absa Premiership when they meet at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 20 January 2018, kick-off at 18h00.

Sundowns suffered a third loss from their last four league matches when they were beaten 3-1 at home by Orlando Pirates on January 13. The Tshwane side has conceded eight goals in their last four outings and will be looking to improve in defence in order to get back to championship-winning form.

The Brazilians have claimed just nine points from eight home matches this season, with three wins and five defeats. ‘Downs have been beaten by both Cape Town City and Pirates in their last two matches as hosts and will be looking to avoid a hat-trick of home defeats.

Stars suffered a second successive loss - and a third in their last four matches - when they went down 3-1 away to Ajax Cape Town on January 12. The result saw the Rustenburg side slip back into the relegation zone.

Dikwena have claimed just 10 points from nine away matches this season, though this is still a far better return as compared to their home record (five points from eight matches). Stars’ last two wins in the league have come on the road: 1-0 at both Polokwane City and Bidvest Wits in December.

In head-to-head stats, Stars and Sundowns have met in 29 league matches since 2003/04. The Brazilians have claimed 12 wins compared to six for Dikwena, while 11 matches have finished in draws. The Tshwane side has claimed four wins from 14 home matches in the rivalry, suffering four defeats in the process.

When the teams met earlier this season, ‘Downs claimed a 1-0 away win thanks to an early goal from Khama Billiat - the Zimbabwean has scored in three of the teams’ last four league matches. Dikwena’s last win over the Brazilians was in the first half of the 2012/13 campaign.

Sundowns’ line-up from their 3-1 loss to Pirates on January 13: Onyango, Langerman, Madisha, Nascimento, S.Zwane (Makgalwa 82'), Kekana (Sekotlong 87'), Mabunda, Manyisa, Vilakaz (Laffor 60'), T.Zwane, Tau.

Stars’ line-up from their 3-1 loss at Ajax on January 12: Visser, Zulu, Sithole, Mwedihanga (Matlakala 85'), Mere, Mekoa, Msomi, Ng'ambi, De Jongh, Rambuwane (Monama 90'), Ntuli (Koapeng 65').

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