The gloves are off as Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns have announced their starting line-ups for this evening’s MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
It is the first final between these two powerhouses since the SAA Super 8 final in 2007, when Sundowns clinched the trophy courtesy of Brent Carelse’s first-half goal.
It is expected to be a spectacle after tickets were sold out within 18 hours of going on sale.
Pirates started their journey in the tournament with a big win, eliminating Sekhukhune United 5-0 at Orlando Stadium. The Sea Robbers had a trip to Cape Town where they beat a 10-man Stellenbosch 2-1, before Stellies beat them 1-0 in the second leg, but Pirates made it to the next round thanks to the away-goal rule.
Meanwhile, Masandawana dumped out Moroka Swallows with a narrow 1-0 victory in the quarter-final and they had another Soweto side in Kaizer Chiefs in the semis, where the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium. Downs won the return leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium by a 2-1 scoreline to advance to the final.
The two sides have faced each other already this season with Downs coming out victorious by 1-0 at Orlando Stadium. Downs have not conceded a goal against Pirates since Rulani Mokwena took over as the sole head coach in October last year.
However, it should be pointed out that Pirates have not lost an MTN8 clash against Downs since 2011.
Here is how they will line-up:
Orlando Pirates XI: Chaine, Xoki, Sibisi, Shandu, Hotto, Timm, Monare, Maswanganyi, Saleng, Erasmus, Lepasa
Subs: Ofori, Ndah, Mofokeng, Baloni, Mako, Kimvuidi, Kapinga, Makgopa, Makhaula
Mamelodi Sundowns XI: Williams, Mvala, Coetzee, Mudau, Boutouil, Modiba, Mokowena, Allende, Maema, Zwane, Shalulile
Subs: D. Onyango, Kekana, Lebusa, Zungu, Mkhulise, Maboe, Mabena, Maseko, Mendieta