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Mamelodi Sundowns v Orlando Pirates: Kaizer Chiefs and PSL challengers need big Bucs favour

2:01 AM MYT 30/12/2022
Rhulani Mokwena, Kermit Erasmus, Mamelodi Sundowns vs Orlando Pirates, November 2022
The match in Pretoria is effectively make or break for the Sea Robbers if they are to finally end a decade long wait for the league title

The PSL chasing pack desperately need Orlando Pirates to beat Mamelodi Sundowns in Friday's crunch league encounter at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Prior to the break for the World Cup, Masandawana were on a red-hot run of six consecutive league wins.

That left them five points clear of second-placed Richards Bay, seven clear of SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs, and nine above Pirates in fifth spot.

  • Mamelodi Sundowns, November 2022

    Threatening to pull away

    A win for Downs over the Buccaneers on Friday could see them pulling away and being very difficult for anyone to catch.

    On the flip side, if Sundowns lose, the likes of Chiefs and SuperSport could move to within striking distance - just four points.

    Bucs themselves would be just six points adrift of the top - but if they lose, that becomes 12 points and any hopes of challenging for the title could be all but over.
    As much as anything, Pirates need to plant some seeds of self-doubt in Sundowns - otherwise it's difficult to see the Pretoria team not winning a sixth straight league title.

  • Kermit Erasmus, Orlando Pirates, October 2022

    New signings boost, fired up Erasmus

    The September signings of Kermit Erasmus and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo gave Pirates a visible boost, and now they've also recently added another Bucs old boy to the squad in Ndumiso Mabena.
    The new additions, the availability of Evidence Makgopa, the in-form Monnapule Saleng, could all help give Pirates a little edge. Erasmus will also be wanting to score against his former employees after being deemed surplus to requirements.

  • Gaston Sirino Mamelodi Sundowns.

    Hard to call

    The last two matches between the two sides have produced contrasting results - Bucs beat the Brazilians 3-0 in the MTN8, while Sundowns trounced Pirates 4-0 in the Carling Black Label Cup.

    Going slightly further back, the previous league fixture between the teams saw the Tshwane side triumph 4-1 at home.

    The lengthy break to proceedings means that neither side will have any momentum though hopefully for the fans, there will be plenty of goals again at Loftus.

  • Rhulani Mokwena rejoins Mamelodi Sundowns July 2020

    Mokwena factor

    Adding more flavour to the game is that this will be Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena's first match in charge as the sole head coach against his old club, after Manqoba Mngqithi was effectively demoted. Coming up against Pirates - where Mokwena first rose to prominence as a coach - will add additional spice to what could be a thriller on Friday afternoon.

  • Manqoba Mngqithi Mamelodi Sundowns 2022.

    Downs changes

    There is just a hint of an unsettled setup at Sundowns - at least, change is underway in the technical team department, with Mokwena explaining this week that he is likely to be altering his backroom staff.

    With Manqoba Mngqithi's 'demotion' and the various changes underway, Mokwena will be under pressure to produce results and Pirates can try and take advantage of any teething issues the new setup at Sundowns may be experiencing.

  • Peter Shalulile Mamelodi Sundowns.

    Shalulile factor

    Back in training after injury, it's possible that Peter Shalulile may be called into action on Friday. The reigning PSL Golden Boot winner could be sway things Downs' way if he does get on the park.