City chas­ing top five spot

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

CAPE Town City have won four of their last six Absa Premier­ship matches and an­other vic­tory to­day at third-placed Su­per­sport United would see the Cit­i­zens climb five places to fourth spot in the stand­ings if other re­sults go their way.

The Cit­i­zens have al­ready beaten Mat­sat­santsa 2-0 this sea­son when the clubs met on the open­ing day of the sea­son.

If they beat United again at Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium (8.15pm kick­off), City will pick up R1.5 mil­lion in the Premier­ship’s Quar­terly Q-in­no­va­tion award for col­lect­ing the most points in the last seven rounds.

“We want max­i­mum points from this en­gage­ment,” said City as­sis­tant coach Vasili Manousakis.

City have made a se­cond new sign­ing in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow with Thato Mokeke join­ing from Chippa United on an 18 month deal.

The 28-year-old for­mer Ajax Cape Town man is no stranger to City hav­ing played for them while on loan from Su­per­sport in 2016/17, when Eric Tin­kler was the coach.

“Thato is a left-footed cen­tral mid­fielder but he can play any­where and will be in our match­day squad,” said Manousakis.

“We also have a new man in 28-year-old striker Ker­mit Eras­mus who will start against United and is set to make a big im­pact with all the ex­pe­ri­ence he’s gained over the years play­ing for the na­tional team and in Eu­rope.

“Head coach Benni (Mc­carthy) ex­pects big things from him on his re­turn to the game af­ter a lengthy break, and I’m sure we will see that from a player who is fit, ea­ger and rar­ing to make an im­pact.”

City need to guard against con­ced­ing goals in the first half. They’ve con­ceded 11 of their 19 goals in the first 45 min­utes, and against a well-or­gan­ised side like United, that would be court­ing dis­as­ter.

That said, City were able to come back from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw with high-fly­ing Orlando Pi­rates, and in their fi­nal game of 2018, over­turned a two-goal deficit to beat vis­it­ing Bloem­fontein Celtic 3-2.

“Our de­fence isn’t bad, it’s just that we’ve been caught nap­ping with our con­cen­tra­tion lev­els at times and that has forced us to play catch-up,” Manousakis said.

“We’re read­ing noth­ing into our first-round win over United, who have shown them­selves to be a phys­i­cal lot and hard to break down, as shown by the 12 goals they’ve con­ceded in 15 league games.

“They have a num­ber of dan­ger men like Aubrey Modiba and James Keene who can trou­ble our last line.

“So we will need to be on our A-game to stand a chance of end­ing up on the right side of the re­sult.” FOR­MER Kaizer Chiefs cap­tain Cyril Nzama de­scribes Ernst Mid­den­dorp as a good coach but be­lieves he will re­ally be put to the test to­day against Mamelodi Sun­downs in an Absa Premier­ship tus­sle at FNB Sta­dium (3.30pm kick-off).

Nzama cap­tained Amakhosi un­der the ten­ure of Mid­den­dorp dur­ing his first spell with the Glam­our Boys.

And Mid­den­dorp is yet to taste de­feat since tak­ing over the coach­ing reigns from the Ital­ian, Gio­vanni Soli­nas, at Amakhosi.

The Ger­man has reg­is­tered three wins in three games. He got the bet­ter of Su­per­sport United 1-0 in his de­but match and fol­lowed that up with a 3-0

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