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Football | Absa Premiership

Buccaneers eye redemption against Brazilians



Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates will lock horns in a heavyweight Absa Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.

Kick-off is at 3:30pm CAT.

The Brazilians returned to winning ways in midweek. A 2-1 come from behind victory over a struggling Ajax Cape Town outfit moving the the club four points clear atop the league summit.Ricardo Nascimento and Sibusiso Vilakazi with the goals for ‘Downs in the Mother City.

Sundowns have a mixed record at home this season, with three wins and four losses from seven matches as hosts. Their last home game ended in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Cape Town City.

Pirates opened 2018 on a high as they defeated Baroka 3-1 at home, with Luvoyo Memela providing two goals and an assist for the Sea Robbers. It was the first time this season that the Soweto side managed to score three or more goals in a league fixture.

The Buccaneers have claimed just seven points from as many away matches this campaign, with their last result on the road a 2-1 loss at Free State Stars just before the festive-season break. Their only away win of the campaign came at Bloemfontein Celtic in late November 2017.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Pirates have met in 66 league matches since 1985. The Brazilians have claimed 30 wins compared to 19 for the Buccaneers. The Tshwane side has won 14 of 33 home matches in the rivalry, suffering nine defeats in the process.

When the teams met earlier this season, ‘Downs claimed a 3-1 away win on November 1 thanks to a brace from Hlompho Kekana and a late strike by Anthony Laffor. It was a fifth successive league win for the Brazilians over Pirates, with the aggregate score in the sequence reading 15-2 in their favour.

Pitso Mosimane’s troops claimed an emphatic 6-0 win in the corresponding fixture last season; a now notorious fixture which had to be suspended after Pirates fans stormed onto the pitch.

PREDICTED STARTING 11:

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Langerman, Nascimento, Madisha, Morena, Manyisa, Mabunda, Kekana, T.Zwane, Vilakazi, Tau.

Orlando Pirates: Mabokgwane; Shitolo, Dube, Maela, Mobara,Munetsi, Qalinge, Nyatama, Memela, Kutumela, Shonga.

What They Said:

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane

“Honestly speaking, I am not happy with our conversion rate in terms of the ratio of chances made and goals scored,” Mosimane said. “But if you look at the numbers of goals we’ve scored, comparative to the log and the goal differences, I should be saying ‘it’s okay’. It’s not great, but it’s okay. But we need to score more.

“We’ve missed a lot of chances, but I’d rather create chances and miss than play without having created any chances. So it’s okay, let them miss, but they will score sometimes.

“If we can convert 40 percent of the chances we make, we should be okay.”

Orlando Pirates midfielder Musa Nyatama

“It's going be a difficult game against Mamelodi Sundowns and we know that very well,” said Nyatama.

“They will come out guns blazing. We will also do our best to make a point that we collect maximum points away. We know they beat us in the first round, they owe us big time. So we have to win, it’s a must for us.”

“We also have quality on our side. We are prepared for a battle on the field. We are prepared to go the extra mile and to work very hard. We shall try to give a 150 percent performance and will make a point to win.”

Key Players:

Mamelodi Sundowns

Percy Tau: The fleet-footed forward is a nightmare for any defender in the league with his trickery and pace having caused many a centre back sleepless nights. If he is not scoring goals, he is setting them up and the Sea Robbers will have to keep a close eye on Tau as his value continues to rise.

Oupa Manyisa: The former Pirates midfielder is starting to show the sort of form that made him a crowd favourite in Orlando with his ability on the ball second to none on South African soil. A good performance against his former employers will go down well in South Africa’s capital.

Orlando Pirates

Musa Nyatama: The Buccaneers faithful will look to the former Brazilian to pull the strings in midfield as Pirates aim to turn the corner against a Sundowns side that have dominated them over the past few seasons. Personally, he will also have a point to prove against his former employers.

Luvuyo Memela: The attacker kicked off the New Year with a bang and will be hoping to continue on that trend with a daunting clash against Sundowns up next. The Brazilians defence has been found wanting on occasion this season and Memela will fancy his chances as he aims to lead the Soweto giants to victory in Tshwane.



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