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‘Pressure’s on powerful Downs’

Posted: 11 August 2018 Time: 11:00

Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen hopes for another cup upset at Mamelodi Sundowns' expense in their MTN8 clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Abafana Bes'thende knocked Sundowns out of the Nedbank Cup last-16 two seasons ago on their run to the semi-finals where they lost to Orlando Pirates.

Nduduzo Sibiya was the decisive factor in that 1-0 win over Downs in April 2017, leaving defender Motjeka Madisha for dead with a clever feint before scoring with a composed finish past Kennedy Mweene at the same venue for today’s encounter.

"We hope to do what we did in the Nedbank Cup last year and cause an upset," said Larsen ahead of the 15h00 kick-off.

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"Every team in this cup wants to go to the final. I mean it's three games and you are in the final. Getting over this hurdle will be the most important thing. You've got the two-legged semi-finals but it is the first one that is always important to get over.

"I think we got a good cup run in the Nedbank and hopefully we can do it again. Like I said, it's a nice game because there's no pressure on us. Nobody gives us a chance against a powerful Sundowns team, but we'll go there and put up a good fight."

Larsen gave short shrift to the notion Arrows will need the perfect game to take out the star-studded Absa Premiership champions.

"I don't need a perfect game because there's no perfect performance," he said. "I think we've planned well for them in the past. We've got results against them in the past and we'll do the same. We had two days to plan their downfall and hopefully we'll come up with a good game plan that can give us the edge over them."

Larsen’s men lost 2-0 to Bloemfontein Celtic in the league in midweek, while the Brazilians enter the match on the back of a 2-0 victory over Polokwane City.

The MTN8 is the only trophy Abafana Bes'thende have ever won. The Durban-based outfit achieved the feat with a record 6-0 rout of Ajax Cape Town in the final when current Downs assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi was in charge.

Last season Arrows were eliminated in the MTN8 at the first hurdle by Bidvest Wits in a fiery encounter, which required penalties after a 2-2 draw yielded six red cards. Larsen, his assistant Mandla Ncikazi and Wits mentor Gavin Hunt were among those that received their marching orders.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala

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