- Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates played to a goalless draw in their MTN8 first leg Semi-final at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
- The duo (teams) will meet again on the 22nd October 2022 in Limpopo (Polokwane) at the Peter Mokaba Stadium where a winner will have to be crowned.
- Pirates who were expected (by many soccer lovers) played well enough to avoid humiliating defeat against Ma-Sundowane for the first time in five matches.
(At the Orlando Stadium on Saturday the 1st October 2022 (at 15h00 South African time).
Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates played to a goalless draw when they met in their MTN8 first leg semi-final at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday the 1st October 2022. The tournament has been routinely marred by the early exits by the big teams who suffers humiliating defeats in the hands of the small teams.
Sundowns went to the match as the DEFENDING champions, whereas Pirates came in as the team which WON the title the season before. Though the TWO teams played to a goal-less draw, the players were at their best to ensure that they play quality soccer.
The game was unique in that it was the first between the due (Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates) South African CAF Champions League winners with a crowd since 2020. In the past the “Star Derby” game between the DUO was won 1-0 by Pirates through a Gabadinho Mhango goal, whereas on the other hand Sundowns appeared to have extended their dominance by winning their last five games against Pirates convincingly.
It must be remembered that Pirates head to the second leg against Sundowns having not conceded puts them in the pound seats as the away goals rule works in their favour. Though Pirates came in as the team which deserves to win the game, they couldn’t quite get the better of Sundown’s impenetrable defence.
As seen from the game, Sundowns weren’t quite played off the park, but counterpunched in a quietly classy manner that will give Pirates (some) sleepless nights when they meet again on 22 October 2022.
That the game also started on time was also down to unusual punctuality that saw two-thirds of the stadium filled out before kick-off.
While there were small, unruly elements from both sides of the fans were generally well-behaved with a level of organization and cohesion that isn’t always associated with football games here in South Africa.
However, the one thing that can’t be ruled out from football watchers in SA is the need to stand during the game (which makes it difficult for others to watch the game with ease).
In what was the first half of half-chances, the closest any team came to a goal was when Monnapule Saleng’s 12th minute freekick came off the crossbar. With the diminutive but highly magisterial Phillip Ndlondlo pulling strings in midfield, Pirates did most of the running.
One of Ndlondlo’s passes in the 31st minute found a surging Deon Hotto, but a bad first touch and an equally forgettable pass to an incoming Zakhele Lepasa meant Pirates fluffed a straightforward chance.
Equally speaking, Sundowns also had three half chances of their own, two of which fell to Khuliso Mudau, who in the 23rd and 25th minutes was ponderously indecisive when in clear possession in Pirates’ box.
The significant change(s) was attained in the second half with the game coming to life in the 51st minute when Lepasa had a shot that was well saved by Sundowns keeper Ronwen Williams.
In the 76th minute when Mokoena, who missed a tough 70th minute chance, opted to pass in the box when there was a chance to test Richard Ofori.
Then in the 81st minute, Kermit Erasmus, who came on in the 59th minute for Lepasa to the loudest cheer of the game, nearly raised the roof with an excellent long-range effort that was well saved by Williams.
The game ended bitterly with no WINNER from both sides in the last minutes, but the scene had been set for a crackerjack return leg on the 22nd October 2022.