On Saturday evening, Mamelodi Sundowns got a solid away point in the CAF Champions League at Wydad Casablanca, with two players continuing their excellent recent form.
In a hostile environment, Motjeka Madisha was imperious in defence against an aerial bombardment by the hosts. The 24-year-old has been playing well all season, but this was amongst his best displays yet.
He made 12 clearances in the game as Wydad delivered 29 crosses to Sundowns’ 10 and played 79 passes into the final third compared to 49 for Pitso Mosimane’s men. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game was how he commanded the defence in the air from this direct assault – winning four of his five aerial duels and 71% of his challenges overall. He also won two tackles in the game as Downs kept a second consecutive clean sheet in continental action.
The other player to impress was Andile Jali, who was preferred to Tiyani Mabunda in Sundowns’ 4-2-2-2 shape. He sat deep alongside Hlompho Kekana – back from a four-game suspension, and the duo provided a solid screen.
Jali attempted an incredible 11 tackles, winning eight of those. No other player on the pitch won more than four tackles.
He had possession of the ball 76 times in the match, significantly more than any other Sundowns player (Tebogo Langerman – 58) whilst he also played 24 passes forwards, 11 more than Hlompho Kekana alongside him. Jali also played nine passes into the final third for Downs.
A measure of his influence perhaps lies in the fact he had 29 touches of the ball between the 15th minute and half-time and 29 more possessions in the final 30 minutes. No Downs player was as involved in the play in those periods of the match as his teammates used him as an out-ball.
The duo have both excelled this season so far and will be hoping to maintain their form going into next weekend’s Telkom Knockout Final against Maritzburg United.
Have Madisha and Jali impressed you this season so far? Let us know by commenting below!