Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has opened up on the improvement Kaizer Chiefs had made this season ahead of their second leg MTN8 semi-final.
Sundowns hold a slight advantage going into the clash with the away goal from the 1-1 draw at FNB Stadium before the FIFA International break.
It looked like they were starring down the barrel of their first defeat of the season before Khuliso Mudau rose highest to head home a stoppage-time equaliser.
But opening up on what they took away from the first leg, Mokwena stated he’s seen improvement in the statistical breakdown under head coach Molefi Ntseki.
“I watched just by mere being a football lover, I watched the [Kaizer Chiefs vs] Royal AM game and also the SuperSport game just by chance because I didn’t have enough sleep so I watched our game, then I happened to watch their game on tv,” he said.
“I saw a completely different side to the team that played against us at FNB. To be honest, they’re a good side, a very good side and they have some good players, they’ve improved in that space, and they create a lot more chances.
“I think on average now, as compared to last season, it’s 11 chances per game – the xG has improved slightly in the last nine games that they’ve played this season, to just around one big chance even though against Sundowns they had zero.
“They are a crossing team but that is also if you look at the profile of the strikers, apart from Du Preez, they have some big boys, even [Jasond] Gonzales is a big boy. And then of course to try to play to the strengths of the players like that you have to put balls in the box.
“So they’re averaging about 11 crosses per game and then of course, it’s also in relation to the profile of the midfield, sometimes they have two screeners with a 10 or sometimes a six, or six and a half and an eight.
“Sometimes [Edson] Castillo plays there or Yusuf Maart and it will be very interesting to see how they integrate that space, with [Siyethemba] Sithebe also involved and the new signing with [Sibongiseni] Mthethwa. So yeah, they have a good team with very good players so we have to be well prepared.
“I’m sure they say the same things about Sundowns, I think they see a good team and they know they have to be very well prepared to play against us.”
Sundowns host Amakhosi on Saturday afternoon in Atteridgeville at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium.