Here, SoccerClub writers put on their prediction hats for the mouthwatering Absa Premiership clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates on Tuesday.
The Brazilians have already played their first game since the resumption of the PSL, booking their place in the Nedbank Cup final after the thrilling 3-2 victory over Bidvest Wits in the semi-final of the competition.
Meanwhile, Pirates have not played since the suspension of all football in South Africa. Their first test back will be against Sundowns when they square off in the Absa Premiership at the Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday, with kick-off set for 6pm.
Heading into the clash, the Buccaneers currently occupy fourth place with 40 points from 23 games, while Sundowns sit second on the table with 44 points from 21 matches played, trailing log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by four points with a game in hand.
Here are our predictions for the upcoming clash
We couldn’t have asked for a better match to restart the PSL after a enforced five-months long break due to Covid-19 … Mamelodi Sundowns against Orlando Pirates!
The two teams can still win the title and I think we will see goals as the pair chase the table-topping Chiefs.
Pirates have scored 35 in their 24 matches while Sundowns have scored 30 in their 21. But, more importantly, the Bucs have conceded 26. So, I don’t expect a dull 0-0 draw on Tuesday evening.
As much as I’d like to see a Pirates win, I think that Sundowns are the only team that can realistically challenge Chiefs for the title, and the fact that they already had an outing in the Nedbank Cup will give Masandawana the edge.
Prediction: Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 Orlando Pirates
Kicking the restarted PSL off, is a match that will have huge ramifications for the title race with Mamelodi Sundowns looking to close the gap on Kaizer Chiefs to just a point, with a win over Orlando Pirates.
It’s not often that Chiefs fans will get behind their fiercest rivals but best believe that come Tuesday evening, even the most die-hard of Chiefs fans will be desperate for a Pirates win.
It will, however, not be straightforward as they come up against a Downs side chasing a historic treble after securing their spot in the Nedbank Cup final over the weekend.
However, I anticipate a tight tactical battle between Pitso Mosimane and his German counterpart Josef Zinnbauer, which could likely end in a draw.
Prediction: Mamelodi Sundowns 1-1 Orlando Pirates
Fans can expect an entertaining clash between Sundowns and Pirates in what could turn the title chase in favour of the Brazilians or Kaizer Chiefs, who by no means have an easy battle of their own against a wounded Bidvest Wits side.
Although Pirates have had more time to train and rest their players, Sundowns will have the upper hand as they have played their first game over the weekend. What could work in their favour is that Pitso Mosimane’s side are accustomed to having a congested fixture schedule.
By no means am I ruling out the Buccaneers, who have had an impressive season of their own. If the league’s top goalscorer, Gabadinho Mhango, can rediscover his form alongside Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch, the experienced Ricardo Nascimento, Motjeka Madisha and Mosa Lebusa will feel the pressure in the Sundowns backline.
Although tight to call, I predict that Sundowns will overcome the challenge of Pirates and snatch all three points to put more pressure on Amakhosi, despite being without Gaston Sirino and Mauricio Affonso in attack.
Prediction: Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Orlando Pirates
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