Arrows take aim at ‘Downs in MTN8 semis

Arrows take aim at ‘Downs in MTN8 semis
Velemseni Ndwandwe of Golden Arrows challenged by Lebohang Maboe of Mamelodi Sundowns

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 27, 2021. 10:00

Golden Arrows will look to make the most of home advantage when they host Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal, scheduled for the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday 28 August 2021. Kick-off is at 15:00 CAT.

Arrows earned their spot in the semis thanks to a penalty shootout win over SuperSport United in the previous round. The teams had played to a 2-2 draw after extra time, with Michael Gumede the hero for the Durban side as he scored both their last-gasp equaliser and the decisive penalty in the shootout.

Abafana Bes’thende come into the match on the back of a midweek league loss to the very team they beat in this competition’s quarterfinals, SuperSport. The Durban side were beaten 3-1 in Tshwane on Wednesday afternoon to halt their momentum heading into this clash.

Sundowns, meanwhile, also booked their semifinal place on the back of a penalty shootout win. They were held 2-2 by fellow heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs, but took the shootout triumph to advance into the final four and continue their quest of winning a first MTN8 title since way back in 2007. This competition is the only one which has consistently eluded the Brazilians in their recent dominance of South African football.

‘Downs were also in league action in midweek, playing to a somewhat disappointing 0-0 draw away to Chippa United on Tuesday, though they remain unbeaten so far this season.

In head-to-head terms, Arrows and Sundowns have met in eight previous cup matches, with the Tshwane side claiming seven wins compared to just one for their Durban counterparts. The teams’ most recent cup meeting was a Telkom Knockout semifinal in 2019 which ended 2-1 in favour of ‘Downs.

Overall, the clubs have clashed in 48 matches across all competitions since 2000/01. Sundowns have 27 wins compared to 11 for Arrows, with 10 games drawn. Their league meetings last season both ended all-square: 1-1 in Durban and 0-0 in Tshwane.

The second leg of this semifinal will be held on September 28 at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane. The aggregate winners will advance to the final to face either Swallows FC or Cape Town City.

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