Pirates, Sundowns set for titanic battle

Pirates, Sundowns set for titanic battle
Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates during theAbsa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at the Loftus Stadium on 11 February 2017 ©Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017. 12:30

Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns will meet for what promises to be a titanic battle in the Absa Premiership at Orlando Stadium on 1 November 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Pirates come into the match having gone four without a win in the league. Their last outing was a goalless draw away to Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs on October 21. It was Pirates’ third successive stalemate in the top flight.

The Buccaneers have performed strongly at home so far this season, claiming 10 points from a possible 12. Yet their last turn as hosts saw them held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Platinum Stars - coach Milutin Sredojevic will hope to see a return to winning form on home soil.

Sundowns come into the match having suffered a surprise 2-1 loss at home to AmaZulu on October 21. It was a second successive defeat for the Tshwane side, who have actually lost all three of their home matches - and all by the same score, 2-1 - so far this season.

The Brazilians, however, have been superb away from home, taking a full haul of nine points from three matches at SuperSport United, Free State Stars and Platinum Stars. Coach Pitso Mosimane will want to see his side keep up that proud record, especially at the expense of a fellow heavyweight like Pirates.

In head-to-head stats, Pirates and Sundowns have met in 65 league matches since 1985. The Brazilians have claimed 29 wins compared to 19 for the Buccaneers, while 17 matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has won 10 of their 32 home league matches against ‘Downs, suffering 15 defeats in the process.

Last season Sundowns claimed an emphatic league ‘double’ over Pirates, winning 6-0 at home in the first half of the campaign (a club-record defeat for Bucs) and 2-0 away in the return game in Soweto. The Tshwane side has won their last four successive league meetings with Pirates.

Pirates’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with Chiefs on October 21: Sandilands, Matlaba, Chabalala, Nyauza, Maela, Qalinge (Lorch 81’), Sarr, Mobara, Makola, Rakhale (Gabuza 64’), Kutumela (Morrison 56’).

Sundowns’ line-up from their 2-1 loss to AmaZulu on October 21: Brimah, Hachi, Arendse, Morena, Madisha, Ngcongca, Kekana, Sekotlong (Mohomi 69'), Zwane (Lebese 60'), Manyisa (Castro 82'), Tau.

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