Preview - Sundowns v AmaZulu

As reigning champions, Mamelodi Sundowns would have returned to work on Thursday - following their first loss of the New Year against Jomo Cosmos on Wednesday - knowing that a shot at redemption is just on the horizon.

Cosmos might have battered the pride of 'The Brazilians' on Wednesday, but Patrice Motsepe's high-earning, yet underperforming, players know that victory in Saturday's Castle Premiership match against relegation-threatened AmaZulu at Super Stadium (kick-off 3.45pm) will put some warmth back in the hearts of even their most angry fans.

Without doubt, the super-rich Sundowns are feeling a little blue after yet another inept display this season, and with the omnipotent Motsepe wanting nothing else but success, coach Gordon Igesund will be feeling the pinch, knowing that a win is all that will be accepted at Chloorkop.

After 14 matches, the star-studded outfit are placed fifth in the Castle Premiership standings on 23 points, six points adrift of log leaders Silver Stars, who have played a game more, while 'Usuthu' are second from the bottom on 13 points after 16 matches.

Two successive unconvincing results for a side that is supposedly the most fearsome in the country could begin to raise the alarm-bells at Chloorkop, but in the face of adversity that has beset Sundowns, skipper Michael Manzini remains confident of an about-turn.

"The last-minute loss (against Cosmos) was a bad way to start the New Year but there is no need to press the panic buttons," said Manzini.

He added: "We only need to regain our confidence. Other protagonists are not playing good either and only Stars are the only feared team so far. Our supporters were furious and I am adamant that we will beat AmaZulu to challenge for the honours."

Despite registering their third win of the season, troubled-AmaZulu's agonising trudge towards relegation is far from over.

A loss against Sundowns will dent their chances of avoiding the drop, but Wednesday's hero Dumisani Ngwenya, who scored the winner against a rampaging Ajax Cape Town, remains positive that his team will not be relegated at the end of the season.

"We respect Sundowns. They are a great team with classy players and you cannot compare them with us. We are adjusting well to coach Ted Dumitru's instructions and I fancy our chances against them," said Ngwenya.
Key players:

Mamelodi Sundowns - Michael Manzini
After their slip-up against Cosmos in midweek, Manzini will hope to inspire Sundowns and bring them back into the kind of form that brought them the Castle Premiership title last season.

AmaZulu - Dumisani Ngwenya
Ngwenya scored a winner for AmaZulu in midweek action and will hope to prove just as effective against Sundowns on Saturday afternoon at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville.

Match preview by Patrick Baloyi/Backpagepix

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- Sundowns demolish AmaZulu
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- Preview - Chiefs v Premier Utd
- Preview - Wits v Cosmos
- Preview - Swallows v S Stars

Sunday, January 20
Castle Premiership

Pirates v Sallows 
Kick-off: 3.45pm
Venue: Ellis Park

January 14
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v Silver Stars
Venue: Germiston Stadium

January 10
Castle Premiership
Lost 0-1 v Supersport
 Loftus Stadium

Sunday, January 7
Castle Premiership
Draw 2-2 v Leopards
Germiston Stadium

Wednesday, December 20
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v AmaZulu
Venue: Princess Magogo

Which areas need reinforcement at Swallows?

Strike force