Sundowns, Pirates set for heavyweight clash at Loftus

Sundowns, Pirates set for heavyweight clash at Loftus
Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Issa Sarr of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns on 07 May 2017 at Orlando Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Jan 12, 2018. 11:30

Absa Premiership heavyweights Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates will meet an eagerly-anticipated clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 13 January 2018, kick-off at 15h30.

Sundowns come into the match having picked up their first win of the year in a midweek game at Ajax Cape Town on January 9. The Cape side claimed the lead thanks to Fagrie Lakay, but ‘Downs hit back through Ricardo Nascimento and Sibusiso Vilakazi to claim all three points and establish a healthy buffer at the top of the standings.

The Brazilians have a mixed record at home this season, with three wins and four losses from seven matches as hosts. Their last home game was just before the festive-season break last month and saw them suffer a surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Cape Town City.

Pirates opened 2018 on a high as they defeated Baroka 3-1 at home on January 6, with Luvoyo Memela providing two goals and an assist. It was the first time this season that the Soweto side managed to score three or more goals in a game.

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 came at Bloemfontein Celtic in late November.

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, while 17 games have been drawn. 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.

Sundowns’ line-up from their 2-1 win over Ajax on January 9: Onyango, Langerman, Nascimento, Madisha, Morena (S.Zwane 83'), Manyisa, Mabunda, Kekana, T.Zwane, Vilakazi (Makgalwa 74'), Tau (Arendse 90+2').

Pirates’ line-up from their 3-1 win over Baroka on January 6: Mabokgwane, Matlaba, Shitolo, Dube, Maela, Memela (Norodien 88’), Munetsi, Mobara, Nyatama, Kutumela (Foster 70’), Shonga (Maphanga 79’).

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