Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns will look to keep themselves within touching distance of the Absa Premiership pacesetters when they host Jomo Cosmos at Loftus Stadium on Friday evening.
Gordon Igesund’s team lies in fifth place, seven points adrift of leaders Ajax Cape Town after a lukewarm start to their campaign that has seen them win just three of their first nine league games.
But with the SAA Supa8 title already in the bag and a final showdown with Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout set for December 1, claims that the Brazilians are on the decline seem rather short-sighted.
And with the talismanic Surprise Moriri back in contention after his substitute appearance in Sundowns’ last outing, a goalless draw away to Chiefs last week, things are looking rather rosy for Igesund.
Rather it is Cosmos that head into this match with some concern over their plight. Ezenkosi are second from bottom, having picked up just three points from their last six league matches.
Admittedly, Jomo Sono’s team are just five points adrift of their opponents, but a single win in their nine league games does not inspire confidence, even if Cosmos have been known to lift their game when they encounter the ‘big three’ of Pirates, Sundowns and Chiefs in the past few seasons.
Sundowns hold a slight statistical edge over their opponents in league matches heading back to 1985. The Brazilians have won 15 matches to Cosmos’ 13 (14 draws), though they are searching for their first league win over Ezenkosi since September 2005.
LAST FIVE RESULTS: Mamelodi Sundowns Date Opponent H/A Result 14/11/07 Kaizer Chiefs A D 0-0 07/11/07 Santos A D 1-1 04/11/07 Orlando Pirates H W 2-1 31/10/07 Bloemfontein Celtic A W 1-0 20/10/07 Golden Arrows H L 1-2
Jomo Cosmos 14/11/07 Santos H D 0-0 07/11/07 Orlando Pirates H L 0-1 31/10/07 AmaZulu H D 0-0 20/10/07 Free State Stars A L 0-2 23/09/07 Platinum Stars H D 1-1
HEAD-TO-HEAD STATISTICS League meetings since 1996/97:
1996/97 Sundowns 0 Cosmos 0 Cosmos 2 (Tico-Tico, Mncwanga) Sundowns 0
1997/98 Cosmos 0 Sundowns 3 (Shai, Bapela 2) Sundowns 0 Cosmos 0
1998/99 Cosmos 1 (Tico-Tico (pen)) Sundowns 1 (Mudau) Sundowns 2 (Chukwu 2 (1 pen)) Cosmos 0
1999/2000 Sundowns 3 (Mothlohi, Amougou, Shai) Cosmos 1 (Mhlongo) Cosmos 2 (Nhleko, Mwaruwari) Sundowns 0
2000/01 Sundowns 0 Cosmos 1 (Tico-Tico) Cosmos 0 Sundowns 0
2001/02 Sundowns 0 Cosmos 1 (Kanyenda) Cosmos 2 (Kukame, Kanyenda) Sundowns 2 (Shai, Mudau [pen])
2002/03 Sundowns 1 (Bianchi) Cosmos 1 (Ntsume) Cosmos 1 (Mwafulirwa) Sundowns 0
2003/04 Sundowns 2 (Marumo 2) Cosmos 0 Cosmos 0 Sundowns 1 (Mudau)
2004/05 Cosmos 0 Sundowns 2 (Ndlovu, Chalwe) Sundowns 2 (Tiene, Mere) Cosmos 0
2005/06 Cosmos 0 Sundowns 1 (S.Ndlovu) Sundowns 0 Cosmos 2 (C.Katongo, Laffor)
2006/07 Cosmos 1 (Katongo) Sundowns 0 Sundowns 0 Cosmos 0