Orlando Pirates v Mamelodi Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundowns will be looking to keep up the pressure on Absa Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs when they face Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
It is a game in hand for both sides and a game that could determine the destiny of the title race. 'Downs will be looking to cut Chiefs' lead at the top of the table to six points and their head coach Pitso Mosimane believes their title challenge will all but be over if they lose to the Buccanneers.
Pirates are coming off the back of an impressive 4-1 thumping of Polokwane City with Gabadinho Mhango in red-hot form as the Malawian marksman grabbed a hat-trick.
At present, the Sea Robbers occupy sixth position in the standings and would move within two points of the Brazilians with victory.
Recent history counts against Pirates. In 19 of the previous clashes between the sides, the home side has only emerged victorious on two occasions, while the Bucs have not won at home to 'Downs in nine matches.
The Brazilians will be without the influential Themba Zwane, while the two recognised strikers in their squad Mauricio Affonso and Jose Ali Meza are still doubtful due to their respective injuries.
As we have seen with Manchester City and Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, Mosimane has also chosen to play without a recognised striker and instead deploy the likes of Sibusiso Vilakazi as a false nine.
And Vilakazi hasn't disappointed, scoring in Downs' last three matches in a row, his latest in the 2-1 victory over USM Alger on Saturday, which secured the Brazilians' qualification to the knockout stages of the CAF Champions League with two games to spare.
With continental business having been taken care of, Mosimane can now focus all of his attentions on the league and for that reason will field his strongest side available.
There were no goals in the fixture across two matches played in the 2018/19 season, with both ending goalless.
Pirates will be the better-rested of the two sides, having had a break from action on the weekend. They are yet to lose under their new German tactician Josef Zinnbauer, who has claimed two wins and a draw in his three matches in charge thus far.
And Zinnbauer was in the stands at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to watch Sundowns' 2-1 victory over USM Alger.
“In this game the favourite is Sundowns. We have nothing to lose. And we will do everything to get the three points‚” Zinnbauer told Times Live.
“I was at their game on Saturday. They have‚ in all positions‚ top [players]. They can change‚ they get the next player in [off the bench] who is not that different form the player coming out.
“They are capable of big performances‚ they have played for the last few years together‚ they have had a coach there for six or seven years.
"They do this [clicks his fingers]‚ and then the player already know what he wants.
“That’s a good club. They have perfect performance. They have played good games in the last few weeks.
“It’s a fight. It’s very hard for us‚ this game. But we have a chance.
“In football you always have a chance. And it’s not that we say‚ ‘Oh‚ Sundowns are coming’. No‚ we are Pirates.
“It’s not so easy for Sundowns. [Let them] come‚ please.”