MTN8 Semifinal Preview: Stellenbosch

Orlando Pirates turn attention back to their MTN8 title defence as they travel to Cape Town to take on Stellenbosch in the first leg of their semifinal tie at Athlone Stadium on Sunday.

It’s a tricky away assignment for the Buccaneers to navigate first up ahead of the decisive home leg at Orlando Stadium, which takes place towards the end of September.

Form Guide 

The game is the eighth outing inside the space of a month for Jose Riveiro’s troops, currently involved in three different competitions in what has been a busy start to the season.

They come off a home league victory in midweek, scoring two unanswered goals to maintain their perfect record at Orlando Stadium where they have won all four of their games so far.

The Soweto Giants have however struggled to match that consistency on the road, returning a solitary win on their travels after suffering one defeat and playing to a single draw.

Having eased past Sekhukhune United in the MTN8 quarterfinal, Pirates will be looking to inflict another loss on a Stellenbosch side reeling from two consecutive home defeats.

The men from the Cape Winelands have not been able to add to their three wins earned so far this season, suffering home defeats to SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs in the space of a week.

After making their first-ever cup semifinal in top-flight competition earlier in the year, they will be on a mission to enhance their chances of going all the way this time around with a good performance against the defending champions.

Team News

There’s at least one confirmed absentee in the Stellies camp in winger Devin Titus, who is ruled out as he begins serving a two-match ban on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence midway through the clash against Chiefs on Wednesday.
 
For Riveiro, there is close to a full complement of playing personnel to select from in the all-important clash.

As revealed by the Spanish mentor in the lead-up to the all-important fixture, nearly all members of the Bucs squad are available for selection including defender Olisa Ndah, who is among players yet to feature this season.

Key Players

Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo (Orlando Pirates): The stocky Bucs star is a potent creative outlet in the middle of the park, owing to his tenacity and undeniable technical ability. Ndlondlo is enjoying yet another good season, with a goal and three assists in only a handful of appearances.

Deano van Rooyen (Stellenbosch): The hosts will likely be led by the speedy fullback, who is an influential presence at the back. The 26-year-old is efficient at covering plenty of ground on the right side of the field, using his pace to exploit the opposition’s vulnerabilities.

Head-to-Head 

This will only be the second cup meeting between Pirates and Stellenbosch, with their only other such encounter dating back to their first-ever clash, where Thembinkosi Lorch’s late strike secured the Buccaneers a spot in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals.

Overall, the two sides have met a total of 10 times, with the Soweto Giants boasting four victories while only losing twice.

Sunday’s clash will also be their second encounter this season, with Pirates gunning for victory after suffering their only defeat of the campaign at the hands of Stellenbosch.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Stellenbosch 

Kick-off is at 15:00 and the game will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL. Live updates will also be posted by Orlando Pirates across the Club’s social media platforms, including the official mobile app.

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