Kaizer Chiefs will be the only one of the four teams with a disadvantage going into the second leg of the MTN8 semi-finals this weekend.
Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and AmaZulu will start with clean sheets, but Chiefs conceded a goal in a 1-1 draw in their first leg at home.
Brandon Truter, the AmaZulu coach at the time, said the away-goal rule gave his team the edge ahead of the second-leg showdown. Truter has since been fired, and he will not be able to reap the benefits of his first-leg reward.
After the first leg early in October, Truter sported a huge smile on his face as he walked away from FNB Stadium afterwards. “We wanted to win the game today. We came out here to get a positive result and take an advantage home,” Truter said.
Both teams have a massive support base in KwaZulu-Natal, and it won’t be surprising if the “sold out” signs go up early on Sunday.
The worse thing that has happened to Chiefs of late is the injury to potential match-winner Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana. On occasions, he rescued Chiefs with penalties when they were unable to score goals from open play and has emerged as a real hero for Amakhosi.
AmaZulu’s new coach Frenchman Romain Folz seems to be bringing the best out of the team. In his debut as AmaZulu coach, he guided the team to a 1-1 draw at Orlando Stadium.AmaZulu midfielder Siphesihle Maduna feels Folz’s tactics are paying dividends.
“What I can say is we are still going to make AmaZulu supporters happy,” said Maduna.
“His tactics are really good, and we will destroy teams in the league this season with him.”
The Pirates-Sundowns first-leg clash ended in a 0-0 draw, and Saturday’s meeting at the Peter Mokaba Stadium has been reduced to a winner-takes-all affair. The winner will advance to the final.Sundowns, fresh from their Caf Champions League campaign, were hardly extended in the past two weeks when they came up against La Passe. Sundowns were also spared the travelling chores as the Seychellois visitors agreed to play their tie in South Africa.
After the two legs, Sundowns ran up a 15-1 aggregate winners against a team made up of chefs, carpenters and firefighters rather than full-time footballers. Sundowns hardly raised a sweat and apart from a midweek home game against Marumo Gallants, the team will be well prepared for Pirates.
On Tuesday, Pirates produced one of the finest displays of the season to run out 2-0 winners against Golden Arrows. Striker Monnapule Saleng netted both goals after he combined well with provider Kermit Erasmus.
This performance augers well for their match against Sundowns, who have not always been convincing this season. After nine Premiership matches, Sundowns have already suffered two defeats and then enjoyed two lucky escapes by scoring a goal in the final minutes.
Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena said the team was not to come away with a 0-0 draw in the first leg.
“At Sundowns, it’s not even just about the result, because anybody that plays the first leg against Orlando Pirates away from home and achieves a 0-0 scoreline and still comes out of that unhappy. It tells you how much of an ambitious club that is,” said Mokwena.
Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has come up with a new playing formation that includes a back four and two wide attackers in a 4-2-3-1 formation. This is the formation he will unleash on Sundowns on Saturday.