Phakaaathi’s Jonty Mark and Khaya Ndubane give their views on who will win this one, and why.
Why Sundowns will win (Jonty Mark, Phakaaathi Editor)
Mamelodi Sundowns have turned Orlando Pirates into an Absa Premiership punching bag over the past few seasons, beating them in all of their last five league meetings, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.
Pitso Mosimane’s side must be relishing the opportunity to take on Pirates again at Loftus Stadium on Saturday, an arena where they humiliated the Buccaneers 6-0 last season. It was all too much for some Pirates fans, who staged a pitch invasion, and it is hoped whatever the result in this latest encounter, we do not see such behaviour again. Unfortunately for Pirates, the likelihood is that the result will be another Sundowns win, with the Brazilians setting the pace at the top of the Absa Premiership, and Pirates showing only slight improvement this season under Milutin Sredojevic.
The Buccaneers did start the New Year well, with a 3-1 win over Baroka, Luvuyo Memela and Mark Mayambela particularly impressive. The simple fact is, however, that Sundowns have proved that they can score from pretty much anywhere against Pirates, with Hlompho Kekana even netting one from around the halfway line in the first round 3-1 win at Orlando Stadium.
I expect Pirates to find the net on Saturday at Loftus, but Sundowns will find it plenty more, in another 3-1 win.
Prediction: Mamelodi Sundowns 3 Orlando Pirates 1
Why Pirates will win (Khaya Ndubane, Online Content Manager)
Statistics certainly favour Sundowns going into this encounter, but stats count for nothing when it comes to big games like this one. It always comes down to which team is better prepared on the day. Plus, this is a perfect time for Pirates to face Sundowns because they have not been impressive since the restart of the league.
They lost to Polokwane City and had to come from behind to edge lowly Ajax Cape Town, conceding four goals in two matches in the process. With Pirates looking sharp upfront following their impressive 3-1 win over Baroka FC, the Buccaneers should fancy their chances of beating the Brazilians today.
I therefore predict a win for Pirates.
Prediction: Mamelodi Sundowns 1 Orlando Pirates 2
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