Friday Sep 22, 2023. 11:47
The MTN8 semifinals are set for thrilling conclusions, with the second-leg matches slated for Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September.
Saturday’s action at the Lucas Moripe Stadium pits Mamelodi Sundowns against Kaizer Chiefs. The teams drew 1-1 in the first leg earlier this month at FNB Stadium: the Amakhosi looked set for victory on the back of Edson Castillo’s opener, but Khuliso Mudau struck deep in injury time to leave the game perfectly poised for this return clash between the heavyweights.
“That [equalising] goal is a goal you’d never want to give away because you know that in this fixture conceding at home puts you in a very difficult position. We planned to avoid conceding,” admitted Chiefs coach Molefi Ntseki, who is under major pressure to win through to the final and give the Soweto club a shot at ending their eight-year trophy drought.
Sunday sees Orlando Pirates, the defending champions, start as strong favourites when they host Stellenbosch FC at the Orlando Stadium.
The Buccaneers won the first leg in the Cape 2-1 on the back of goals from Zakhele Lepasa and Deon Hotto, while Stellies come into the clash on the back of a five-game winless run across all competitions.
“Every time we play one game we want to win,” said Pirates coach Jose Riveiro. “We want to be a winning team, we want to enjoy playing football and the only way we know how to do it is attacking, looking for the goal and [complacency] is not going to be the problem.
He added, “One thing is clear for us, we respect a lot Stellenbosch as a team. So we will never find relax[ation with] this team in front of Stellenbosch because we know the difficulty of the games against them.”
The aggregate winners will face off in the final, set for Saturday 7 October at a venue yet to be determined.
MTN8 weekend fixtures
Times CAT, aggregate score in parenthesis
Saturday 23 September
15:00: Mamelodi Sundowns v Kaizer Chiefs (1-1)
Sunday 24 September
15:00: Orlando Pirates v Stellenbosch FC (2-1)