United aim for another Downs upset

2011-11-18 00:00

MARITZBURG United will have fond memories of their last battle against Mamelodi Sundowns when Ian Palmer’s relegation-threatened side produced one of the performances of their season by upsetting the Brazilians 3-1 at the Harry Gwala stadium in May.

That match ensured the club’s top-flight status for another season.

This is a new season, though, and Sundowns have a new coach in Johan Neeskens. When the sides meet on Sunday at Loftus in Pretoria, Palmer will not be paying attention to what happened last time the sides met, but will instead be focusing on how to combat Neeskens’ new-look side.

“We know that they are a little more aggressive than they used to be,” Palmer told The Witness yesterday. “But we also feel that they have weaknesses at the back, so we will go there and see what happens.”

Palmer will be without regular striker Diyo Sibisi, who scored last time United met Downs and has netted four times this season.

Sibisi is suspended after reaching his yellow card limit against Kaizer Chiefs in Port Elizabeth earlier this month.

Palmer is not overly concerned about Sibisi’s absence, though, and he is confident that the other strikers in the squad will be able to slot into the side.

“We still have Fadlu [Davids], Jacob [Abobade] and Renaldo [Donnelly], so we have options up front,” said Palmer.

Abobade has featured once as a substitute since signing with the club on a two-year contract in September, and will be relishing the opportunity to show that he has the ability to be the answer to United’s woes in front of goal.

Davids has only scored once this season and will also be keen to show his coach and peers that he hasn’t lost his goal-scoring touch.

With United’s “home” game against Chiefs being played in Port Elizabeth, Sunday will be the fifth straight match that Palmer’s men have played outside Pietermaritzburg, including the Telkom Knockout clash against Santos in Cape Town.

“It has been difficult and we would love to play in front of our supporters again — I’m just glad it’s over,” said Palmer of his side’s extensive time on the road.

“We just need to keep our focus and concentrate on our target, which is to get eight points from our next four matches.”

Sunday’s match kicks off at 3.30 pm and will be televised on SuperSport 4.

• sport@witness.co.za

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