9 July, 2022
Orlando Pirates Reserves mark their return to competitive action with a do-or-die encounter against their Mamelodi Sundowns counterparts in the quarter-finals of the DStv Diski Shield taking place at Wits University Stadium on Saturday.
The competition - which features the eight teams that finished in the top half of the DStv Diski Challenge (DDC) table in the recently-concluded season - is back after a two-year absence, and the clash between the two biggest names in South African football is among the more highly-anticipated games of the weekend.
Both sides have undergone several personnel changes since the end of the regular season, and each camp is expected to boast a handful of debutants going into the fixture.
New recruit, Mehluleli Maphumulo is one player who will be eyeing a first appearance at this level in Buccaneers colours after an impressive showing in the Engen Knockout Challenge over the past weekend. He, along with Mohau Nkota, could lead the line for the Soweto Giants, and the latter could be looking to pick up where he left off in what was an impressive debut season in the DDC.
For the team at large, it will be a case of putting behind them a disappointing finish to the season, where they finished in third place, narrowly missing out on a maiden Reserve League title.
Sundowns Reserves, on the other hand, will be looking to one better than their last attempt at the Diski Shield title, where they fell at the final hurdle, losing 2-1 to Golden Arrows in the 2019 final.
They scraped into the top-eight of DCC last season, finishing seventh with 12 wins in their 30 matches.
The two sides will be meeting for the first time in knockout football, and Saturday’s fixture follows two thrilling contests in league action last season, where the Bucs Reserves notched up a 3-2 win away from home, only to emerge on the losing side in Soweto with an identical score line, despite a spirited comeback from trailing 3-0 at halftime.
Tight affairs have been a constant in this fixture, with the 2019/20 season producing a two-all draw before Pirates edged the Tshwane outfit with a 1-0 win.
In recent years, the Buccaneers maintain a slight upper hand over the young Brazilians, winning three of their last seven encounters, while suffering two defeats.
How to Watch Orlando Pirates Reserves vs Mamelodi Sundowns Reserves
The game kicks off at 12:30 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL (202). Entry into the match venue is free.