MTN8 semifinals take centre stage

MTN8 semifinals take centre stage
Rhulani Rulani Mokwena head coach of Mamelodi Sundowns and Molefi Ntseki head coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2023 MTN8 - Semi Final - 1st Leg - Kaizer Chiefs Press Conference on the 31 August 2023 at PSL Offices © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Friday Sep 01, 2023. 11:00

The first legs of the MTN8 semifinals will take centre stage in South Africa this weekend, headlined by the all-heavyweight meeting of Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Amakhosi and the Brazilians will clash at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, with the former looking to avenge a 2-1 league loss at the hands of the latter when the teams last met in early August.

Sundowns continued their ominous form in midweek when they defeated Polokwane City 2-0 away, racking up a club-record sixth successive league win since the start of the season. And it’s seven wins when you add in the MTN8 quarterfinal 1-0 triumph over Moroka Swallows.

“It’s the quality of the players – and we’ve got good players,” said Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena in regards to his team’s dominance. “Nothing has changed, it’s just that the players know each other better and there’s continuity and a lot of hard work from the technical team and we have a good squad and that makes a huge difference.”

Chiefs, meanwhile, have built momentum and confidence with successive wins over AmaZulu and Stellenbosch FC – but they will still need to lift their game for the challenge offered up by their Tshwane opponents.

The second semifinal opens on Sunday afternoon at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, with Stellenbosch hosting Orlando Pirates.

The Buccaneers have been in fine scoring form so far this season, with a 2-0 league win over Cape Town City on Tuesday bringing their tally of goals to 16 from six matches across all competitions this season. In fact, the only match in which they failed to score was a 1-0 league defeat away to Stellenbosch in early August.

“The goal is the promised land in football, it is what we are looking for,” said Pirates coach Jose Riveiro. “When you are in the dynamics and you are not scoring, you are creating, but the goal is not going into the back of the net, then everything is much more difficult.

“We start to know this narrative around the team that is not scoring and this player is not scoring. That’s extra pressure, we have to deal with it with no problem. But now it seems we are more lucky in front of goals and hopefully, we can improve that record game after game.”

The return leg matches are scheduled to be played on the weekend of 23-24 September.

MTN8 weekend fixtures

Times CAT

Saturday 2 September

15:00: Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns

Sunday 3 September

15:00: Stellenbosch FC v Orlando Pirates

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