Mamelodi Sundowns will look to avoid a huge upset by finishing off Jwaneng Galaxy in Tuesday’s Caf Champions League first round, second leg game at Loftus Versfeld.
Downs stand in an advantageous position with one leg in the group stage after a 2-0 victory from the away leg played on December 22, 2020.
But the Botswana Premier League champions could be fancying upsetting the 2016 African champions by overturning their deficit although that is an uphill task.
If that happens, it would be Galaxy’s first time ever to reach the Champions League group phase.
Sundowns' quest for a second elite continental crown continues but this time under co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena as well as senior coach Steve Komphela.
Kick-off time for the match which was initially scheduled for 18.00hrs has been changed to 16.00hrs due to South Africa’s lockdown curfew.
|Game||Mamelodi Sundowns vs Jwaneng Galaxy|
|Date||Tuesday, January 5|
|Time||16:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|Mamelodi Sundowns TV Live Stream||BTV|
Squads & Team News
Sundowns coach Mngqithi and his technical team have not been fielding their strongest squad in the past five games due to injury and medical issues.
Star midfielder Themba Zwane has not featured in their last three games for unspecified reasons and it is not clear if he would be available for Tuesday’s encounter.
Also uncertain is captain Hlompho Kekana who has also been absent lately but Kermit Erasmus is likely to start after returning in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match against Orlando Pirates last weekend.
Since getting injured in February 2020, forward Mauricio Affonso is still far from recovering, according to Mngqithi.
The Uruguayan has been aggravating his injury whenever he nears a return. Attacking midfielder Gift Motupa is also another player out but has started light training as he edges closer to full fitness.
The former Pirates man is yet to make his debut for Downs since signing from Bidvest Wits in September 2020.
Although Jwaneng Galaxy have what could be slim chances of pulling a shocker against Sundowns, they will be hoping to have all their best players available on Tuesday.
Galaxy coach Sikalame Keatlholetswe could start Ivorian forward Junior Dion and Resaobaka Thatanyane upfront.
The two were a threat for Sundowns on rare occasions in the first leg and carry Galaxy’s hopes of upsetting the PSL champions.
At the back, Keatlholetswe banks on Isaac Paeye and Fortunate Thulare to thwart any danger posed by the hosts.
Former Orlando Pirates youth player Ricardo Lourenco who lasted just 39 minutes in the first leg was part of the Galaxy squad that arrived in Pretoria by road on Monday.
Sundowns prepared for this match with a huge PSL fixture against Orlando Pirates from which they emerged victorious on a 1-0 scoreline.
It was a morale booster needed ahead of Galaxy, making Downs already involved in competitive action in 2021.
That they are leading the PSL standings and also enjoying a 2-0 advantage from the first leg further gives confidence to the Brazilians.
They also host the Botswana champions on the back drop of a 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions this season.
On the other hand, Jwaneng Galaxy last played a match on December 22 when they hosted Sundowns.
Since football was suspended in Botswana in March owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Galaxy's only taste of competitive football outside was the Champions League preliminary round 5-1 aggregate victory over Zilimadjou in the Comoros.
Keatlholetswe might not be fully aware of his men’s fitness levels and momentum after the Christmas break.
For a team that is making their maiden appearance in the Champions League, it would be a massive achievement if Galaxy beat Downs and reach the tournament’s next round.