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Tue Sep 02 13:30:39 SAST 2014

Sundowns are weak in defence, says Bucs midfielder

Sisa Majola, Sapa | 21 September, 2011 15:57
MTN8 2 Leg semi-final: Sundowns v Pirates
Musa Nyatama, Katlego Mphela and Johannes Neeskens during the MTN8 2nd leg semi-final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates from Loftus Stadium on August 28, 2011 in Pretoria, South AfricaPhoto by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Image by: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns are weak in defence and can be exposed, said Orlando Pirates midfielder Clifford Ngobeni ahead of the Premier League clash between the two teams at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.

Sundowns suffered their first league defeat to Ajax Cape Town on  Sunday with the Urban Warriors coming from behind to snatch a last minute 3-2 win in Atteridgeville.

Sundowns’ performance in the second half of their matches has often let them down this season.

Ngobeni puts the blame on coach Johan Neeskens’ expansive style of play and the team’s poor defence.

“That’s why they were exposed by Ajax on the weekend,” said Ngobeni, the pint-sized former Urban Warrior. “I don’t think they have a good defence.

“I have watched them play. They have a lot of ball players in midfield, which can be a strength and weakness, but that is why they have been fading during matches.” 

Pirates too are coming off a defeat — their second of the campaign — against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, and are looking to improve after a woeful showing against their Soweto arch-rivals.

“That is the plan — to get over the loss and bounce back with three points this weekend, and I know that we will be motivated for the match,” Ngobeni said.

The Buccaneers could be without winger Tlou Segolela who was absent from the team’s training session on Wednesday morning because of a recurring knee injury.

The pacy Segolela has been struggling to shrug off an ailment which kept him out of Bafana Bafana’s trip to Niger earlier in the month.

After being rested in last Wednesday’s 1-0 home win over Santos,  he was substituted early in the second-half against Chiefs.

“He probably won’t play this weekend because of his swollen knee,” said coach Julio Leal.

“We rested him because of this against Santos, and again his knee was swollen against Chiefs.

“We have sent him to a doctor and probably he will be rested again for the Sundowns game.”  

Pirates have played the Brazilians twice already this season in the two MTN8 semi-final legs where Pirates came from behind in both  games to win one and draw the other, which saw them progress to the  final of the competition they went on to win.

“Football is like a chess game especially at the start of the season,” said Leal.

“We have played each other twice already and I think this game will be even more tactical.

“We do know them and hope that we can command, get goals and have a better start this time around to collect the maximum three points we want.

“I think that we can reach the superior performance level that we deserve, that the supporters also deserve.” 

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Tue Sep 02 13:30:39 SAST 2014 ::