Sundowns look to claim MTN8 final berth

Sundowns look to claim MTN8 final berth
Lyle Lakay of Mamelodi Sundowns warming up during the 2021 MTN8 1st leg semifinal match between Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Sep 28, 2021. 10:00

Mamelodi Sundowns will look to claim a berth in the MTN8 final when they face Golden Arrows in the second leg of their semifinal tie, set for the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday 28 September 2021, kick-off at 18:00 CAT.

The first leg at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in late August ended 1-1, with Arrows leading for most of the game thanks to Nqobeko Dlamini’s early strike, only for ‘Downs to seize back the initiative in the tie with Pavol Safranko’s late equaliser.

With an away goal in the bag and home advantage for the decisive leg of this tie, the Brazilians are clear favourites to reach a first MTN8 final since 2016 (when they were beaten 3-0 by Bidvest Wits).

They are also in fine form, having strengthened their grip on top spot in the DStv Premiership this past weekend with a 2-0 away win over Orlando Pirates. Peter Shalulile netted both goals as ‘Downs continued their unbeaten start to the season.

“Credit must be given to our boys. They kept focus, kept grinding,” said co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi, who will want to see a similar execution on Tuesday evening.

“We knew it was not going to be easy. When you have won so many matches in Orlando, they would come out as wounded animals wanting to kill and honestly speaking they really showed up for this match.”

Arrows, meanwhile, come into the match on the back of a 1-1 draw away to Sekhukhune United, in which they led through Michael Gumede, but ended up sharing the spoils after a late penalty from Yusuf Maart.

Abafana Bes’thende have gone five matches without a win across all competitions and coach Lehlohonolo Seema will be worried at his team’s loss of momentum after a promising start to the season.

“We are aware that for the last few games we have conceded near the end of the matches and that is something we are working on to rectify,” said Seema.

The aggregate winners will advance to face either Cape Town City or Swallows FC in the final on Saturday 30 October.

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