The Absa Premiership is finally back after nearly five months of Covid-19 lockdown. The champions Mamelodi Sundowns host Orlando Pirates in a potential title decider.
A win for Sundowns will see Pitso Mosimane’s side go within a point of leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who face a feisty Bidvest Wits on Wednesday night.
But tonight is all about Sundowns and Pirates.
What happened in January?
Pirates: 30. Sandilands, 23. Maela, 4. Jele, 5. Nyauza, 45. Pule, 6. Motshwari, 15. Makaringe, 44. Mabaso, 11. Memela, 7. Mhango, 3. Lorch.
Subs: 1. Delle, 27. Ndengane, 32. Mntambo, 21. Monyane, 28. Dube, 18. Dlamini, 16. Mabasa.
Sundowns: 14. Onyango, 16. Ngcongca, 4. Langerman, 2. Madisha, 5. Lebusa, 15. Jali, 26. Sirino, 8. Kekana, 11. Vilakazi, 27. Morena, 21. Mkhulise.
Subs: 1. Mweene, 6. Arendse, 7. Lakay, 23. Makgalwa, 13. Mabunda, 17. Mahlambi, 33. Maboe.
Result: Pirates 1-0 Sundowns
In what was a heated and tight encounter, Pirates managed a goal through Gabadinho Mhango for a lucky 1-0 win.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer said:
"I think it was a good game for both teams but we have a little more luck, we need the luck.
"The opponent is very good, we know they play a very good tactic, they have a good space, they find the solution always and then we say, 'stay a little deeper' we wait, then we make a counter-attack,” concluded the German coach.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said:
"Ja difficult, on the results only, not the game. We came here and played as usual. Not happy because it's my first defeat here in seven years, I thought I'd keep the results, they've been good," Mosimane told SuperSport after the match.
"But it's okay, they went once Denis [Onyango] was still on Christmas break there. But we came, we played, we controlled the game, we took the game to them, we showed [that] we're a championship team.
"First five-ten minutes the ghost did not allow us to score tonight, the ghost was there everything, even the balls went there, they were cleared off the lines, we hit the post once, twice and the ghost took the ball out, I mean really what else can you do at Orlando Stadium?
"Look, it's okay they also need a break, they are a good team we must give them credit. A good game, just upset with one thing that happened on the pitch, not good for football, it's my opinion okay. I hope it's not good for Molefi Ntseki because he's here, you know what I'm trying to say?
#Sundowns lol so @TheRealPitso criticized Makaringe for dribbling and then encourages his players to go to the corner flag and model until they deliberately get yellow cards?— Mr CEO (@thulani_CEO) February 19, 2020
"we had to do what we had to do" is the justification 🤔😔😢 pic.twitter.com/X8ewHRFj8A
"Okay the good thing is Fadlu [Davids] came and he apologised. You know it's good for Maimane Phiri's Games and Baba Mthethwa's Games, we love it. Probably it's going to be the flavour of the moment, kasi flavour but it's the way it is. I don't want to criticise or kill the youngster because he had a good game but it's okay,” concluded Mosimane in reference to Fortune Makaringe’s showboating.
Tonight’s crunch game will kick off at 18:00 from the Dobsonville Stadium.