United limping into tough battle

2010-10-28 09:49

Injury-hit defending Absa Premiership champions SuperSport United, are determined to grind out a result when they host unbeaten Kaizer Chiefs at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday. Kick-off is at 3.30pm.

The latest casualty to United is their inspirational captain and centre half, Bongani Khumalo, who injured ankle ligaments and will miss the clash.

The 23-year-old Khumalo this week signed a pre-contract agreement with English Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur. He will join Spurs, currently playing in the Uefa Champions League, in January for a transfer fee of about R17?million.

Also missing will be tough-as-teak midfielder Letladi Madubanya. Another of coach Gavin Hunt’s mounting injury list where key players such as goalkeeper Emile Baron, defenders Thabo September, Bradley Carnell and striker Glen Salmon, who have been out with long term injuries.

Khumalo’s injury means his centre back partner Morgan Gould, will be pressed into action.

“Losing Khumalo against Chiefs is a massive blow for me,” said Hunt. “Gould is not 100% fit, but he will have to play. It is desperate times for the club, but there is nothing we can do but get on with it and get a result against Chiefs.”

Hunt is wary of Amakhosi who have looked like genuine challengers to his team’s crown. “Chiefs are playing well and I am not concerned how we get a result, just getting one will be all I can ask of my players. If we have to roll up our sleeves then we will do so.”

On paper Chiefs, with 11 points from five matches, are favourites. United on the other hand have only seven points and two defeats in their five matches played so far.

“The injuries have crippled us, but if we keep our shape I am confident we will come away with a result. We are, however, going to have to give a disciplined performance if we are to get something from this game.”

Liberian international Anthony Laffor, who scored against Vasco da Gama in the Telkom Knockout Cup match on Saturday evening, and Ethiopian Fikru Lemessa, are expected to lead the United attack.

Chiefs’ dangerman is Zimbabwean international striker Knowledge Musona, while in midfield Musona’s countryman Tinashe Nengomasha and the exciting Mthokozisi Yende could squeeze the life out of the defending champions in the engineroom.

Orlando Pirates play the only other unbeaten side in the Premiership, Ajax Cape Town, at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening. Kick-off is at 8.15pm.

The Urban Warriors suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Free State Stars at the Athlone Stadium in their Telkom Knockout first round clash yesterday evening and are now second on the log with 11 points, ahead of Chiefs on a better goal difference.

The Urban Warriors have been a breath of fresh air with their positive attacking approach to every game – whether at home or away – and the Buccaneers can prepare for an onslaught.

Bucs coach Ruud Krol, knows he cannot afford any slip ups such as the 1-0 loss to Mpumalanga Black Aces at their Soweto home last Wednesday.

Krol said: “We know what to expect from Ajax. They are a young team full of running and will come at us, so it should be a good game.”

Vasco play Mamelodi Sundowns at the Athlone Stadium on Friday evening in what could be a banana skin for the Brazilians. Kick-off is at 8pm.

Other fixtures on Saturday: Platinum Stars vs Maritzburg United (Moruleng Stadium, 3.30pm); Free State Stars vs Black Aces (Goble Park, 3.30pm); Santos vs AmaZulu (Athlone Stadium, 6pm).

Sunday: Moroka Swallows vs Bloemfontein Celtic (Dobsonville Stadium, 3.30pm); Lamontville Golden Arrows vs BidVest Wits (Chatsworth Stadium, 4.30pm).

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