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Sundowns need to rediscover scoring touch in MTN8 semifinal

Mamelodi Sundowns must find their scoring touch if they are to advance to the MTN8 final this year as they prepare to face Cape Town City in the second leg of their semifinal in Atteridgeville on Sunday.

The Brazilians have gone almost seven hours without a goal in all competitions, a remarkable statistic given the money spent at the club to bring in top attacking talent.

It has seen the side make a sluggish start to their league campaign, bow out of the African Champions League and now face elimination from the MTN8, a competition they have not won since 2007, despite their recent trophy success in all other competitions on offer to them.

Coach Pitso Mosimane remains philosophical though and feels the goals will come.

"When you don't have goals, it's normal in a team. The challenge is when you don't create the chances to score. Then you know you have a problem," Mosimane told reporters on Thursday.

"So we don't have a problem to create the goals. The challenge is that we aren't converting. I think we are due to a goal, it's uncommon for us to go this long without scoring. So in order for us to win we must score, it's as simple as that."

Mosimane refused the lay the blame at the door of New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie, who was prolific at his previous club SuperSport United, but has yet to find the back of the net in an official game for Sundowns, or for any team since last October.

The coach says that talking about the issue in the media can lead to fans getting on the backs of players, as happened when Orlando Pirates forward Thamsana Gabuza walked off the pitch during a match against Black Leopards on Wednesday. 

"I don't want to put any pressure on Jeremy because we saw what happens when people put pressure on players to score," Mosimane added.

"It's also not only up to Jeremy to score the goals, Themba Zwane, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Gaston Sirino and everyone else must also contribute to the goal scoring."

City are likely to be without key Austrian midfielder Roland Putsche, who will have a scan on an injury picked up in the midweek 2-2 league draw at Free State Stars.

His absence would be a major blow for coach Benni McCarthy, who is seeking a second final in as many years after leading the team to the 2017 decider, only to lose to SuperSport United on penalties.

By the time the teams play they will know their potential final opponents with Kaizer Chiefs to host SuperSport United in the other semifinal, second leg, on Saturday night.

The tie is locked at 2-2 from a thrilling first leg and it is a tough one to call, with Chiefs having won only one of their seven games in all competitions.

Coach Giovanni Solinas has come under pressure at the start of his tenure and exiting the MTN8 at this stage, together with a 13th-place position in the league will not endear him to fans.

A positive for him is the gelling of front two Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro, who have picked up the relationship they previously had at Sundowns with ease.

But defensively Chiefs have been poor and that is the area they will want to improve on against a SuperSport side that has multiple threats and two in-form strikers of their own in Zimbabwean Evans Rusike and Bradley Grobler.

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