PSL action resumed on Tuesday evening with a mega clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates. With both teams struggling to find a cutting edge as the game finished goalless, SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN highlights five talking points.
The Brazilians came into the game on a high following their 3-2 Nedbank Cup semi-final win over Bidvest Wits in their first game back following the Covid-19 suspension. Pitso Mosimane’s team, though, would have been well aware of the pressure ahead of the clash as they looked to slash log leader Kaizer Chiefs’ lead down to just one point.
Pirates, who mathematically were not yet out of the race just yet, were hoping to hit the ground running in their first game back and possibly eye a late run at the title.
However, the game failed to live up to expectations as the players clearly struggled to deal with the intensity of such a big game after such a long time out.
The five main talking points from the clash:
1) A game of two halves
That’s it from the Dobsonville Stadium, it ends in a goalless draw as we share the spoils and look to come back stronger on Friday!
Mamelodi Sundowns 0️⃣➖0️⃣ Orlando Pirates
#Sundowns #DownsLive #AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/LSBYycMgnt
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) August 11, 2020
The Brazilians came out and showed a lot of intent in the second half as they looked to dominate possession and dictate the pace of the game. As a result, Mosimane’s men looked the more likely to break the deadlock in the first stanza.
Pirates, though, started the second half with renewed vigour. As Zinnbauer and Mosimane made their substitutions, it was quite clear that the Sea Robbers were in the ascendency. But, they also failed to find the back of the net and were forced to settle for a draw.
2) Maboe produces solid performance at RB
With Thapelo Morena still recovering from an ankle injury, Mosimane looked to a forward man to help fill the void. Maboe might not be accustomed to the position but was vital at providing the right balance to the Sundowns team with Lyle Lakay on the opposite flank.
Maboe proved solid in defence while also going on a few dangerous forays forward and might just prove to be another player converted by Mosimane.
3) Lorch and Shonga drama
All the talk before the match was dominated by the news that Justin Shonga and Thembinkhosi Lorch had been suspended by the club and left out of the squad following a breach in team health protocols.
The duo left the bio-secure bubble and will need to undergo two Covid-19 tests before be allowed back into the squad.
The exact breaches have not been revealed by the club, but both players are set to face an internal disciplinary committee.
— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) August 11, 2020
4) Fitness issues to plague everyone
After an extended period away from the intensity of competitive football, it is clear that the players will need a couple of weeks to get back up to speed.
Mosimane stated in his post-match conference that it would be important to deploy his full complement of substitutes in order to try to protect the players going forward.
5) Chiefs the biggest winners
Sundowns may have picked up a point, but with their game in hand now effectively gone, the title race is in Kaizer Chiefs’ hands.
The result leaves Amakhosi three points clear at the top of the table as they aim to end the longest trophy drought their history.
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