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Sundowns vs Chiefs: Morena bracing for furious Billiat and Castro storm

27 October 2019 - 13:21 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Thapelo Morena of Mamelodi Sundowns looks ejected after losing a match.
Thapelo Morena of Mamelodi Sundowns looks ejected after losing a match.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns defender Thapelo Morena says they are bracing for a tough day in the office in defense when they host bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs in a highly anticipated Absa Premiership encounter at Loftus on Sunday afternoon.

The second-placed Sundowns have only managed to keep one clean sheet in seven league matches‚ the 1-0 win over Highlands Park this week‚ played so far this season and they have conceded five goals in total.

They will need to be on top of their defensive game when they face the premiership leaders as Chiefs side have scored the second most goals in the league so far with 12.

Morena said Sundowns need to tighten things up at the back if they are to keep the visitors at bay.

“Keeping things tight at the back is going to be important in this game and I think the team that defends well has a good chance of winning this match‚” said the Bafana Bafana player.

Morena singled out Chiefs stars Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro as the men who are most likely to give them headaches on Sunday.

“We know that Khama likes to play on the shoulders and he is very quick and good on the ball‚" he said.

"Castro is one of the best finishers in the box and he can’t be left free because he can cause serious damage if he is left unattended.

"I know that normally their wingers don’t like to come back and maybe we will be able to expose the spaces that are going to left behind."

Billiat‚ Castro and Ramahlwe Mphahele‚ who is unlikely to feature in this game as he has dropped down the right-back pecking order‚ have played for Sundowns and Morena knows exactly what is coming.

“We know each other very well but I believe that we have players who will be able to help our team‚" he said.

"We know how they play and they will be looking to play more on the break.

"There are certain areas where we can hurt them.

"We just have to go out there and do what we always do on the training pitch‚ execute our game plan and try to exploit their weak points."

In their last league match against Higlands Park‚ Sundowns missed numerous scoring chances until substitute striker Mauricio Affonso rescued them at the death.

Morena doesn’t want a repeat.

“Every time we train‚ we normally look at our finishing but if it is not your day it is not your day‚" he said.

"If you remember the game against AmaZulu‚ we created chances early in the game but failed to convert until the last minute of the first half.

"We came back in the second half and managed to score four to win the match 5-0.

"Against Highlands Park we also missed good chances and we were rescued by Affonso in the last minute of the game.”