Friday Sep 30, 2022. 11:00
South Africa’s MTN8 will see first leg matches of the semifinals played this coming weekend, with potential thrillers in store.
The semis get underway on the afternoon of Saturday 1 October in Soweto, as Orlando Pirates play host to defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Brazilians have battered the Buccaneers in recent times, racking up five straight wins in this rivalry of heavyweights (including a 4-1 thrashing when the teams last met in December 2021), but Pirates coach Jose Riveiro is confident that his team can prevail – despite being inactive since September 10.
“We had a short and well-deserved rest for the boys. We used the time properly. We are still very hungry for the future and we are going to face the game in a very good condition,” said Riveiro.
“[The break] it’s not bad and it’s not good. It is what it is, we had to adapt ourselves to the schedules. Ours was terrible in terms of games and trips. September was a bit normal and we had this break until the end of the month.
“We didn’t stop so much, it was a good time to do a deep analysis about what we were doing in the competition and get a conclusion to make sure we know where we are in our process. This is a long-term process that we started.
“There were a lot of things to analyse and try to implement for these weeks. For me as a coach, I’m glad we have time to train, for a team like us that trusts in the training process. We had the chance to enjoy these full weeks before we face our opponent. It’s something very positive for us.”
Sunday’s clash at FNB Stadium sees Kaizer Chiefs host AmaZulu, with the Amakhosi looking to build on a much-needed 2-1 win over SuperSport United in their last outing on September 17, while Usuthu have gone three games winless since defeating Cape Town City in the MTN8 quarterfinals.
Nonetheless, AmaZulu coach Brandon Truter is backing his team to do the business against Chiefs: “We fancy our chances against any team. The boys have been playing well and the team is always improving. There is always room for improvement. I expect us to be top quality against Chiefs.”
The return-leg matches are scheduled to be played on the weekend of 22-23 October.
MTN8 fixtures – semifinal, first leg matches
Saturday 1 October
15:30: Orlando Pirates v Mamelodi Sundowns
Sunday 2 October
15:30: Kaizer Chiefs v AmaZulu