Free State Stars - Mamelodi Sundowns Preview: Billiat urges defending champions to maintain momentum

Masandawana will look to continue their dominance over Ea Lla Koto when the two sides meet James Motlatsi Stadium on Sunday afternoon

Mamelodi Sundowns  travel to Orkney to take on relegation-threatened Free State Stars  on Sunday afternoon.

Masandawana go into the encounter full of confidence as they returned to winning ways on Thursday night following their five-goal hammering of Tshwane neighbours SuperSport United.

Meanwhile, Ea Lla Koto will be looking for a positive result as they look to give themselves some breathing room away from the relegation zone. Stars are currently in 14th position on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) table, a point ahead of Baroka FC.

Since the beginning of the year, Stars have shown signs of resurgence under Serame Letsoaka as they have played an exciting brand of football, but their offensive tactics have come at a cost as they have conceded two goals or more in four of their last five league encounters.

On the side of Sundowns, victory in the Tshwane Derby saw their six-game winless run come to an end, and the victory could spell a resurgence, according to Sundowns forward Khama Billiat.

“I hope this is the beginning of [more] victories to come and the way we want to play. My teammates have been working very hard but not getting results. So, I hope this is the beginning,” Billiat told SunSport following Thursday’s victory.

However, injuries are still a concern for coach Pitso Mosimane. With key players such as Tiyani Mabunda, Wayne Arendse and Sibusiso Vilakazi sidelined, Mosimane has been forced to shuffle his squad around.

Nonetheless, the rise of youngster Motjeka Madisha has been noted as Mosimane continued to give him the nod against Matsatsantsa.

Stars should be wary of a hungry Sundowns’ attack.

While, the defending PSL champions struggled for goals of late, Thursday’s encounter saw them put that behind them. In particular, talisman Billiat claimed himself a brace and was instrumental in Sundowns’ victory.

Although Stars go into the clash as the underdogs, they have many notable players within their ranks. Coach Letsoaka will have the likes of Moeketsi Sekola and the evergreen Paulus Masehe to choose from going into the encounter.

The last time Sundowns faced off against Stars, they outclassed the Bethlehem-based outfit, beating them 4-1.

Stars and Sundowns have met 24 times previously. Sundowns hold the historical advantage as they have claimed 15 victories, while Stars have only recorded two victories.

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