Make or break for Igesund?

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Kick off is at 19h30.

The Urban Warriors head into this high profile Absa Premiership clash on the back of a 2-1 defeat away to Orlando Pirates on Saturday, but that will not blunt the young team’s determination to put one over the struggling Brazilians and former coach Gordon Igesund.

Sundowns are without a win in their last five league matches and their capitulation in the Telkom Knockout final to Kaizer Chiefs, as well as all of their off-field controversies, have left the club in a tailspin.

This was further exacerbated by a 3-2 loss to Pretoria/Tshwane rivals Supersport United on Saturday night where the Brazilians were strangely inconsistent and showed alarming lapses of concentration in defence.

Ajax, who have won seven of their 12 matches and sit at the head of the table on 24 points, took six points off Sundowns last season under Muhsin Ertugral – they were the only team to do the league ‘double’ over the champions in 2006/07 – and they will look to perform a similar feat under the mentorship of Craig Rosslee, who has effortlessly picked up where the former coach left off.

Urban Warriors’ defender Brent Evans is confident that they can carry on where they left off.

“Last season we were fortunate in the first two matches we beat Sundowns. But the Absa Cup final and the last League game we did outplay them. I think they had a long season and we are younger so this helped us last time,” he says.

“Now they have lost the cup final so they won’t want to lose against us. Gordon Igesund is a good tactician and it will be a tough game. It won’t be pretty, it will be physical. The windy conditions will make it tough and I’m looking forward to it.”

The pressure is mounting on Igesund, who could well find himself amongst the unemployed if his side yield to the Absa Premiership leaders, and he will look to the experienced players in his squad to counter Ajax’s high energy, fast paced style of play.

Statistically speaking, these teams have been very evenly matched in the league since Ajax’s formation in 1999/2000.

The clubs have met 16 times in the top flight and both have claimed five victories, although Sundowns have scored 22 goals to the Cape team’s 17.

LAST FIVE RESULTS

AjaxDate Opponent H/A Result08/12/07 Orlando Pirates A L 1-202/12/07 Platinum Stars A D 0-025/11/07 AmaZulu A W 1-014/11/07 Moroka Swallows H W 4-104/11/07 Free State Stars H D 0-0

Sundowns08/12/07 Supersport United H L 2-305/12/07 Black Leopards H L 1-226/11/07 Jomo Cosmos H D 2-214/11/07 Kaizer Chiefs A D 0-007/11/07 Santos A D 1-1

HEAD-TO-HEAD STATISTICS

League meetings since 1999/2000

1999/2000Ajax 0 Sundowns 1 (T.Mnguni)Sundowns 2 (Bapela, Masilela) Ajax 0

2000/01Ajax 2 (Permall, Mrewa) Sundowns 1 (Mudau (pen))Sundowns 3 (Semake, Mthalane 2) Ajax 2 (Mzizi, Mrewa)

2001/02Sundowns 0 Ajax 0Ajax 2 (Ncube 2) Sundowns 1 (Mudau)

2002/03Ajax 1 (Paulse) Sundowns 0Sundowns 1 (Chukwu) Ajax 1 (Nauseb)

2003/04Sundowns 1 (Mashehe) Ajax 1 (Mulekelayi)Ajax 2 (Zibi, Mulekelayi) Sundowns 2 (Sebona, Sapula)

2004/05Sundowns 4 (Mokoena, Ndlovu, Tiene, Mubiala [og]) Ajax 0Ajax 1 (Mugeyi) Sundowns 1 (Tiene)

2005/06Ajax 0 Sundowns 2 (Torrealba, Moriri)Sundowns (S. Ndlovu) Ajax 1 (Moon)

2006/07Sundowns 1 (Chabangu) Ajax 2 (Evans, Paulse)Ajax 2 (Moon, Ngobeni) Sundowns 1 (Moriri [pen])