Aug 4, 2021

PREVIEW: Sundowns Host Pirates At Loftus Stadium

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With two games in hand, Sundowns remain the reigning PSL champions with 11 points ahead of Buccaneers.

FILE PHOTO: It’s a final before the final, the clash is scheduled for Thursday at 18:00. PICTURE: Orlando Pirates

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PRETORIA: Sundowns to square off against Pirates tonight at Loftus Versfeld on Thursday evening.

The high flying Pretoria-based side, Mamelodi Sundowns will face-off the Soweto gaint, Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup Quarter-finals at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

Sundowns advanced into this clash after thrashing Polokwane City last month and have maintain their unbeaten run in the Dstv premiership with six points clear.

The team co-coach Rulani Mokwena in his pre-match mind games said “With all due respect to other teams, this is probably right to see this match as the final before the final.”

With two games in hand, Sundowns remain the reigning PSL champions with 11 points ahead of Buccaneers.

Looking at recent performances by both teams, Sundowns took on Chippa United on Monday claiming a 2-1 win against Chippa, the Buccaneers took on AL Ahly Benghazi on Sunday claiming a 3 nil win against the Libyan giants.

The Soweto-based side is under the mentorship of German-born coach Josef Zinnbauer, to this date Pirates has shown high-quality performance against their opponents.

Having been part of the Pirates technical team between 2017 and 2019, over the weekend when asked by reporters, Mokwena explained what he expects from the Buccaneers.

“I can give you the Pirates line-up. We all know more or less who will play except for the conundrum from the good performance in their 3-0 win over Ahli Benghazi of Libya where Tshegofatsho Mabasa and Kabelo Dlamini played‚” Mokwena said.

“That is possibly their biggest conundrum‚ but you know there are possibilities of Siphesihle Ndlovu or Ntsikelelo Nyauza playing at right-back. With Nyauza‚ it is more of a back three than it is a back four because with Ndlovu there is a lot more adventure and forays offensively.

“It will possibly be Happy Jele‚ Thulani Hlastshwayo‚ Paseka Mako and if Nyauza is not playing centre half‚ he is playing right back. In the midfield, there is Thabang Monare and Ben Motshwari at central midfield‚ Fortune Makaringe as their number ten and there is also Vincent Pule in that space,” he continues to explain.

“Then there the remaining positions for the likes of Gabadinho Mhango‚ Deon Hotto‚ Kabelo Dlamini or even Linda Mntambo. So‚ we know more or less the Pirates line-up and fortunately, we are also clued up on some of their schemes.

“From the point of view of the technical match-up‚ you know that there are some very good players and tactically the profile of the team is possession-orientated and transitional. It should be a good game on Thursday‚ it’s just a pity that a spectacle like that will not have fans in the stadium,” Mokwena told the media.

As co-coach at Sundowns, Mokwena has no doubt that they will be facing a strong opponent on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Pirates mentor knows how to bring the game to the opponents but he will definitely have to worry when playing against Sundowns.

Speaking ahead of the match, Zinnbauer said, “At the moment, Sundowns have the best team in the league and are also one of the best sides in the Champions League.

“So it will be good for me as a coach to see the reaction of the players to facing a quality side such as Sundowns,” he added.

The clash is scheduled for Thursday at 18:00. 

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