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Football | Absa Premiership

SuperSport seek redemption v Ajax



SuperSport United and Ajax Cape Town will be eager to bounce back following a disappointing weekend of results for the respective club sides when they meet in an Absa Premiership clash at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm.

Matsatsantsa failed to find the back of the net as they suffered defeat to TP Mazembe in the final of the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup. At the same time, the Urban Warriors conceded twice in added time as AmaZulu held Stanley Menzo’s troops to a 2-2 draw in Athlone.

SuperSport United have played a mere five league matches so far this season (due to their extended participation in the CAF Confederation Cup), but make a return to action having conjured three wins. Staggeringly, the Tshwane outfit are but nine points off log leaders Baroka FC who have played 12 games.

In their last league outing, Eric TInkler’s men beat high-flying Golden Arrows 3-0 and will be hoping for a similar result in Nelspruit. SuperSport’s only home loss this season was handed to them in the opening round of the campaign by local rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Urban Warriors head into the clash eager to shake off a 2-2 stalemate against Usuthu - the Durban-based club denying Ajax Cape Town what would have been just their third league victory in the 2017-18 season.

As has often been the case, the Cape side have struggled on their travels this season, claiming just one point from five matches on the road. Their last away game was a 1-0 defeat at fellow basement dwellers Platinum Stars on at the start of the month.

Last season United took four points off Ajax CT, winning 2-0 in the ‘Mother City’ in the first half of the campaign before playing out a goalless draw in the return fixture. The last six league meetings between the two teams have failed to produce a home win.

Predicted Starting 11:

SuperSport United: Williams; Nhlapo, Gould, Daniels, Modiba, Furman, Letsholonyane, Mbule, Phala, Grobler, Brockie.

Ajax Cape Town: February; Lebusa, Booysen, Nhlapo, Evans, Pietersen, Margeman, Losper, Mosadi, Phohlongo, Morris.

Head-to-Head Statistics:

LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2012/13 Ajax 1-1 SuperSport Fanteni; Zuma

2012/13 SuperSport 2-1 Ajax Nxumalo, Cale; Wanderson

2013/14 SuperSport 1-2 Ajax Zuma; Rodgers, Jenniker

2013/14 Ajax 2-0 SuperSport Morris, Rodgers

2014/15 Ajax 0-0 SuperSport

2014/15 SuperSport 1-2 Ajax Phala; Losper, E. Isaacs

2015/16 Ajax 0-1 SuperSport Phala

2015/16 SuperSport 1-3 Ajax Nkhatha; Morris, Losper, Nxumalo

2016/17 Ajax 0-2 SuperSport Brockie (pen), Letsholonyane

2016/17 SuperSport 0-0 Ajax

LEAGUE RECORD (since 1999/2000)

Home

P W D L GF GA

SuperSport 18 8 4 6 21 19

Ajax 18 6 6 6 15 16

Away

P W D L GF GA

SuperSport 18 6 6 6 16 15

Ajax 18 6 4 8 19 21

Total

P W D L GF GA

SuperSport 36 14 10 12 37 34

Ajax 36 12 10 14 34 37

What They Said:

SuperSport United head coach Eric Tinkler

“I am looking for a positive response,” said Tinkler.

“We’ll see if we can get that in the next couple of days when we play against Ajax CT. Then you will know how it [defeat in the CAFCC final] has affected the team, emotionally and psychologically.

“But obviously we plan to make quite a few changes for that game because we have brought in quite a number of new faces into the squad. I think that we need to refresh this squad a little bit. Now we can really start focusing on our league campaign. That becomes the main objective right now.”

Ajax Cape Town defender Mario Booysen

“They [SuperSport United] will be hurting, from a personal point of view I know it is not nice to lose in a final,” said Booysen. “Especially when there is a lot on the line.

“I think they will come out and try and make things right against us because they are behind in the league and will want to get back to where they feel they belong. They have an experienced squad, we respect that, but we should focus on ourselves and what we can do.

“Both teams are bruised, we had to win our game on Saturday in all fairness, but yes, we can take advantage. But, we have to apply ourselves correctly. We don’t have a good away record at this point in time, but we have an opportunity to change all that on Wednesday.”

Key Players:

SuperSport United

Aubrey Modiba: The versatile defender has operated efficiently in a more attacking role when called upon - but even when starting at fullback, Modiba provides valuable go forward down the flank. The former Cape Town City man was in red hot form last time he played in Nelspruit, and Tinkler will be expecting a similar sort of performance from one of this season’s outstanding players.

Bradley Grobler: The former Ajax Cape Town forward will be eager to add to his goal tally in midweek following his eye-catching start to the campaign. In partnership with Jeremy Brockie, Matsatsantsa boast a notable threat in attack - something sure to trouble a fragile Urban Warriors defence.

Ajax Cape Town

Roscoe Pietersen: The former SuperSport United player has adopted a defensive midfield role following injury to Tercious Malepe, and will be required to cover a lot of ground against an attacking minded Matsatsantsa outfit. Pietersen will be key to Menzo’s game plan as the Urban Warriors aim to upset their hosts with the link he plays between defence and attack pivotal to the club’s style of play.

Tashreeq Morris: The hard-running forward will be aiming to unsettle a solid SuperSport United backline in the Mpumalanga province, with the club to count on his work ethic in their attempt to snap a disappointing away record. Having popped up with vital goals throughout his time at Ikamva, Morris will be hoping to bag another as the Urban Warriors et their sights on a rare win on foreign soil.



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