Sundowns, Arrows open 2018 MTN8

Sundowns, Arrows open 2018 MTN8
Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville South Africa on 05 April 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 10, 2018. 13:30

Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows will open the 2018 MTN8 when they meet in the first quarterfinal, set for the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, 11 August, kick-off at 15h00 CAT.

Sundowns earned their place in the 11th edition of the ‘Wafa-Wafa’ by finishing top of the Absa Premiership log in 2017/18. The Tshwane side were eliminated in the quarterfinals of last year’s competition, losing 1-0 at home to Maritzburg United.

The Brazilians have won the Top Eight Cup three times, though not since the competition was renamed the MTN8. The Tshwane’s side last triumph in the competition was back in 2007 when it was still known as the SAA Supa8.

Arrows’ place in this year’s MTN8 was secured with an eighth-place finish in the 2017/18 top flight. The Durban side were also eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2017 MTN8 competition: they held then league champions Bidvest Wits 2-2 in Johannesburg but succumbed 4-3 on post-match penalties.

Abafana Bes’thende famously won the MTN8 in 2009 when they crushed Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in the final. This is their second appearance in the Top Eight since that famous victory, which is still their only major competition triumph.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Arrows have met in six previous cup matches. The Brazilians have claimed five wins compared to just one for Abafana Bes’thende. The teams’ most recent knockout clash in the 2017 Nedbank Cup, which saw Arrows claim an upset 1-0 win.

Overall, ‘Downs and Arrows have met in 40 matches across all competitions since 2000/01. The Tshwane side has dominated the rivalry with 22 wins compared to 10 for their Durban counterparts. Sundowns claimed a league ‘double’ over Arrows last season, winning 1-0 both home and away.

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