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Predicting Orlando Pirates' XI to face Mamelodi Sundowns as PSL title race resumes

19:20 GMT+3 29/12/2022
Orlando Pirates celebrate.
The Buccaneers head to Tshwane to face Masandawana as they continue their bid to end a long wait for the league title

Orlando Pirates are back for competitive action when they take on Mamelodi Sundowns in Friday's Premier Soccer League match at Loftus Versfeld.

Placed fifth on the PSL table, the Buccaneers are chasing log leaders Sundowns who have nine points more than them and with a game in hand.

Jose Riveiro and his men will be hoping for a positive result in Tshwane to inspire them going forward as the league title race hots up.

GOAL predicts how Riveiro could line up his team to tackle the Brazilians:

  • Siyabonga Mpontshane, Orlando Pirates

    GOALKEEPER - Siyabonga Mpontshane

    With Richard Ofori uncertain due to fitness concerns, Pirates can bank on the experience of veteran stopper Mpontshane.

    If he plays, the 36-year-old would be hoping to keep at bay Sundowns' prolific forwards like Peter Shalulile or Cassius Mailula.

  • Thabiso Monyane of Orlando Pirates.

    RIGHT-BACK - Thabiso Monyane

    Monyane is expected to be back from an injury which saw him be unavailable for the Carling Black Label Cup.

    The 22-year-old has wrestled the right-back spot from Bandile Shandu this season and has proved to be a reliable campaigner.

  • Deon Hotto, Orlando Pirates, August 2022

    LEFT-BACK - Deon Hotto

    The Namibian has not been at his best this season but Riveiro still prefers him on the left side of defence.

    That he is not playing his usual role as an outright attacker on the left wing could be attributed to Hotto's lack of goals.

  • Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates FC.

    CENTRE-BACK - Innocent Maela

    Pirates have announced that their skipper has recovered from injury and is available for selection.

    He was injured during the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs at the end of October and has responded well to his recovery program.

  • Nkosinathi Sibisi, Orlando Pirates, October 2022

    CENTRE-BACK - Nkosinathi Sibisi

    Another player defender whose return Pirates confirmed after picking up an injury during the MTN8 final against AmaZulu in early November.

    It is good news for Riveiro that two of his best-performing defenders are in back in time for a big fixture.

  • Olisa Ndah Orlando Pirates MTN8

    CENTRE-BACK - Olisa Ndah

    Riveiro's deployment of three centre-backs in most of Pirates' games has been attributed to their vast improvement at the back.

    Maela, Sibisi and Ndah, who was an injury worry ahead of this game, have gelled to form a solid wall at the back while being supported by wing-backs.

  • Miguel Timm, Orlando Pirates, November 2022

    CENTRAL MIDFIELDER - Miguel Timm

    One of the best signings by Pirates and top performer, thriving in big games this season, Timm is expected to pick up from where he left off before the World Cup break.

  • Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, Orlando Pirates, October 2022

    CENTRAL MIDFIELDER - Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo

    Another huge revelation amongst this season's signings, Ndlondlo would be hoping for a repeat of the MTN8 semi-final when he subdued Sundowns experienced midfielder Andile Jali.

    He has already proven he is reliable in huge matches when more is demanded by Riveiro.

  • Monnapule Saleng, Orlando Pirates, October 2022

    RIGHT WINGER - Monnapule Saleng

    The left-footer has been thriving as an inverted right winger and has arguably been the biggest revelation for Pirates this season.

    He was instrumental when Pirated eliminated the Brazilians from the MTN8 and could be back to haunt them again.

  • Vincent Pule, Orlando Pirates, August 2022

    LEFT WINGER - Vincent Pule

    Pule is injury prone in recent seasons but the Fifa World Cup break might have allowed him to regain full fitness.

    On his day, he can be a handful and he would want to use the Sundowns game to score his first league goal of the season.

  • Kermit Erasmus, Orlando Pirates, October 2022

    CENTRE-FORWARD - Kermit Erasmus

    Erasmus was a thorn in the flesh for Masandawana in the MTN8 semi-finals and he would want to be too much for them again.

    His experience is something the Buccaneers can always rely on although he can easily get injured.