One down, one to go for Downs

Bafana ba Style vy­ing for an­other win over a Soweto gi­ant, so Bucs must be strong

CityPress - - Sport - TIM­O­THY MOLOBI tim­o­thy@city­press.co.za

As the cur­tain falls on 2015, the ques­tion is who will have the last laugh be­tween Pitso Mosi­mane and Eric Tin­kler? Or rather, who will have a joy­ous Christ­mas break af­ter this af­ter­noon’s clash be­tween Mamelodi Sun­downs and Or­lando Pi­rates? Who will fall at Lof­tus? In nor­mal cir­cum­stances, this clash should be a top-of-th­elog bat­tle, but un­for­tu­nately, the op­po­site holds true: Pi­rates find them­selves lan­guish­ing at the wrong end of the ta­ble af­ter their poor start to the sea­son.

For their part, the Brazil­ians are on a roll and will be look­ing to com­pound the Buc­ca­neers’ woes.

High-rid­ing Sun­downs will be hop­ing to make it a dou­ble over Soweto teams when they host Pi­rates at Lof­tus this af­ter­noon.

This game could not have come at a bet­ter time for Mosi­mane’s side, who are still on cloud nine af­ter win­ning the Telkom Knock­out with a re­sound­ing vic­tory over the other big Soweto side, Kaizer Chiefs, mid­week.

The coach will want to build on that vic­tory, know­ing it will go a long way in his mis­sion to re­cap­ture the league ti­tle.

Without a doubt, Mosi­mane has turned Sun­downs into a welloiled ma­chine, con­sid­er­ing how eas­ily they dis­man­tled Chiefs.

Sun­downs’ trio of Kea­gan Dolly, Khama Bil­liat and Bon­gani Zungu have con­trib­uted to the re­vival of the Brazil­ians. Their pace go­ing for­ward has left many clubs down and out.

Colom­bian striker Leonardo Cas­tro also seems to have found his foot­ing in the Premier Soc­cer League. He scored the opener in Downs’ vic­tory over Chiefs to add to the other goal he scored against Su­perS­port United.

On the other hand, it has not been smooth sail­ing for Pi­rates, who are still reel­ing from their CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup fi­nal de­feat to Tu­nisian side Étoile du Sa­hel three weeks ago.

With Tin­kler’s fu­ture at the club in ques­tion fol­low­ing in­dif­fer­ent form this sea­son, time is run­ning out for him to change the team’s for­tunes.

He is well aware that any­thing but a vic­tory could spell trou­ble for him.

The good thing is that the be­lea­guered men­tor has the back­ing of some of his star play­ers, no­tably striker Tham­sanqa Gabuza, who was given his break by Tin­kler.

To their credit, Pi­rates have a way of ris­ing to the oc­ca­sion when the chips are down, and the Ghost will be hop­ing this hap­pens again this af­ter­noon.

With the league go­ing into an­other re­cess af­ter this af­ter­noon’s matches, re­sum­ing play in the sec­ond week of Jan­uary, both coaches will want to take a hol­i­day on the back of a good vic­tory.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIV­AMBU / GALLO IM­AGES PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACK­PAGEPIX

ON FORM Leonardo Cas­tro has al­ready scored two goals for Sun­downs

GOAL POACHER Tham­sanqa Gabuza has come to the de­fence of

coach Tin­kler

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