Downs and United have all to play for

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­

The fate of two South African clubs in the CAF club com­pe­ti­tions – Mamelodi Sun­downs and Su­perS­port United – is in their own hands.

How­ever, the same can­not be said about Plat­inum Stars, who are all but out of con­tention in the knock­out stages of the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup.

De­fend­ing CAF Cham­pi­ons League cham­pi­ons Sun­downs and their neighbours, United, know what to do in their re­main­ing two matches to guar­an­tee their places in the quar­ter­fi­nals of their tournaments.

With two games re­main­ing, Downs next travel to Ethiopia’s Saint Ge­orge be­fore host­ing AS Vita Club in back-to-back fix­tures.

The Brazil­ians will be home and dry should they avoid de­feat in Ad­dis Ababa on Satur­day and beat Vita at home a week later.

Sun­downs are sec­ond on the table, with the same num­ber of points as their Satur­day hosts, but with a better goal dif­fer­ence.

Pitso Mosi­mane’s side started this year’s cam­paign at a slow pace, win­ning only one of their four matches, but should still be too good for the Ethiopi­ans.

But it won’t be easy for Mosi­mane’s side, who should ex­pect a packed Ad­dis Ababa Sta­dium.

The sides played to a goal­less draw in their open­ing match of the cam­paign.

Af­ter their morale­boost­ing draw against Esper­ance away in north Africa in Tu­nisia on Wed­nes­day, Sun­downs should be con­fi­dent ahead of their trip to east Africa.

Sun­downs have been boosted by the re­turn of cap­tain Hlom­pho Kekana and An­thony Laf­for from in­jury – the duo will play a cru­cial role in en­sur­ing the side’s pro­gres­sion to the next stage of the tour­na­ment.

United, on the other hand, also have to avoid de­feat in Guinea, where they visit group lead­ers Horoya AC at the weekend.

In fact, a win for United would book them a place in the quar­ter­fi­nals as Horoya and third-placed TP Mazembe would can­cel each other out in their last match.

De­spite not los­ing a sin­gle game in the group stages, Mat­sat­santsa a Pi­tori have only vic­tory to show for their ef­forts in four matches – with three drawn games. They need at least one more vic­tory to en­sure they reach the knock-out stages.

With the Ned­bank Cup out of the way, it should be smooth sail­ing for United, who can now fo­cus solely on the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup.

It has been a poor run for Stars, who are lan­guish­ing at the bot­tom of their group – with­out a vic­tory in four matches.

They travel to Mouloudia Club d’Al­ger of Al­ge­ria, who are on top of the group with eight points.

Their re­main­ing two games will be a for­mal­ity and they should use them to give their young­sters CAF ex­pe­ri­ence.


ON TRACK Tembo Su­perS­port United’s Kai­tano

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