Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns: Buccaneers defend MTN8 title

Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns: Buccaneers defend MTN8 title
Credit: Icon Sport

Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns faced off in the final of the 2023 MTN8 in Durban on Saturday and it was the Buccaneers who successfully defended their title.

After it finished goalless in regulation time, Pirates won 3-1 on penalties to claim a second successive MTN8 title. 

Orlando Pirates did not have the best of preparations before coming into this fixture after they were knocked out of the CAF Champions League by Botswana side Jwaneng Galaxy via penalties, and they also lost in the league to Mamelodi Sundowns before that.

On the other hand, Rhulani Mokoena's Sundowns came into this final with a lot of confidence, having won all but one of their games in all competitions this term.

Pirates found some motivation and luck to beat the PSL defending champions again in the MTN8 to achieve what has been a rare feat in the competition down the years.

The Buccaneers became only the fifth team to retain the top eight trophy – something achieved twice each before by Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates – having been victorious in last year’s decider against AmaZulu.

How it happened between Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns

In terms of the line ups, Pirates had Monnapule Saleng back alongside Kermit Erasmus, who started against his former employers, while coach Mokwena recalled goalkeeper Rowen Williams, Marcelo Allende, Neo Maema and Peter Shalulile to his starting XI for this epic final.

Sundowns flew out of the blocks early and looked dangerous when Shalulile intercepted a wrong pass by Nkosinathi Sibisi and played Themba Zwane through, but Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine was up to the task and denied the forward from close range.

After that chance, the Buccaneers got a chance of their own from a free-kick outside the area following a foul on Miguel Timm, but captain Tapelo Xoki’s effort from the set-piece went well over the bar. 

Meanwhile, Pirates were forced into a late change in the half as Sibisi, who was still feeling uncomfortable after an earlier collision with Mothobi Mvala, made way for Olisa Ndah,who came on for his first appearance of the season.

Just a few chances presented itself before the break but the two teams were not decisive enough as the half ended goalless. 

After the break, Masandawana took the initiative and they nearly got the game's opening goal when Shalulile sent his half-volley over and Allende’s effort on goal was smartly saved by Chaine.

Pirates, who rarely threatened in the second half, could have won it in the dying embers of the game when Saleng sent his near post effort after a cutback from Erasmus into the side-netting and that led the match to extra-time.

Masandawana upped the ante in extra time and could have had a penalty when Chaine nearly clattered into Lebohang Maboe but it was waved away and Junior Mendieta's goal was disallowed for offside, and forced the match to a penalty shoot-out.

In the end, Chaine was the hero as he saved Sundowns’ first three spot-kicks before Karim Kimvuidi buried the winning penalty to help Pirates successfully defend their title.

Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns confirmed lineups

Orlando Pirates XI: Chaine, Xoki, Sibisi, Hotto, Shandu, Timm, Monare, Maswanganyi, Saleng, Lepasa, Erasmus.

Subs: Ofori, Ndah, Mofokeng, Baloni, Mako, Kimvuidi, Kapinga, Makgopa, Makhaula.

Mamelodi Sundowns XI: Williams, Mvala, Coetzee, Mudau, Boutouil, Modiba, Mokoena, Allende, Maema, Zwane, Shalulile.

Subs: Onyango, Kekana, Lebusa, Zungu, Maseko, Mkhulise, Maboe, Mabena, Mendieta.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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