New customers only | Commercial content | 18+ age limit | T&Cs apply

Clash of the Titans: Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns Head to the 2023 MTN 8 Final

by Yunchu Li | by Yunchu Li

image Clash of the Titans: Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns Head to the 2023 MTN 8 Final
South Africa’s most prestigious club football cup competition, the MTN 8, is set to take place on October 7, 2023, at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa. Also known as the MTN 8 Wafa Wafa, the tournament features the top eight teams from the previous season's Premier Soccer League (PSL) standings battling it out for the title and a fairly significant prize purse. The 49th edition of the MTN 8 has been nothing short of spectacular, and now only two sides are left standing - Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns. Join SportyTrader as we take a look at their journey to the grand final.

Orlando Pirates Out to Defend Their MTN 8 Crown

Orlando Pirates

The Buccaneers got their title defence started with a spectacular 5-0 victory over Sekhukhune United, securing a spot in the MTN8 semi-finals. Zakhele Lepasa stole the spotlight with a hat-trick, opening the scoring in the 22nd minute and adding two more goals in the 56th and 88th minutes. Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo and Monnapule Saleng also contributed to the rout with goals in the 59th and 61st minutes, respectively. Despite Lepasa missing a penalty in the 79th minute, he eventually completed his hat-trick to seal an emphatic win for Pirates. 

Orlando Pirates took a step closer to their title defence with a crucial 2-1 victory over Stellenbosch FC in the first leg of the semi-finals. Despite Stellenbosch going down to 10 players due to Thabo Moloisane's red card, breaking down their solid defence was anything but straightforward. Lepasa managed to level the score in the 65th minute with his 10th goal of the season, but the real drama unfolded in the 94th minute when Deon Hotto secured the winning goal to give Pirates an advantage for the second leg. And a crucial advantage at that. 

In the second leg, the Sea Robbers dominated from the start, making numerous runs into the box. However, poor final decisions and a lack of a cutting edge hampered their efforts. Despite their dominance, Pirates conceded in the 22nd minute when Iqraam Rayners' shot deflected off Zakhele Lepasa. Stellies suffered a setback when Rayners, arguably their best player, left the field with a groyne injury. Even though they conceded the first goal, Orlando Pirates displayed commendable resilience throughout the match. The Buccaneers persisted in their pursuit of an equaliser but Stellenbosch FC managed to maintain their lead, dealing with fatigue in the Johannesburg heat. While the result marked Pirates' third consecutive loss in all competitions, the away goals rule worked in their favour, securing them a spot in the final and the opportunity to defend their title.

Sundowns in the Hunt for Their Fifth MTN 8 Title

Mamelodi Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns took a step toward the MTN8 semi-finals with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over 10-man Moroka Swallows at Lucas Moripe Stadium. The match didn't start as expected, with Swallows surprising their opponents with an uncharacteristically physical approach to disrupt Sundowns' usual game plan. In the seventh minute, former Downs midfielder Andile Jali received a red card for a harsh foul on Teboho Mokoena. Despite the numerical disadvantage for Swallows, neither team managed to score in the first 45 minutes. The game's only goal came three minutes into the second half when Themba Zwane capitalized on a ball intercepted by Lucas Ribeiro. The physicality and intensity of the match continued, but Sundowns held on to secure the win. 

The Brazilians then booked their spot in the MTN8 final with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Kaizer Chiefs in the second leg of the semifinals. However, the match was not without controversy, specifically regarding an incident where Thapelo Maseko appeared to kick Mduduzi Mdantsane in the penalty area. Despite fervent appeals from the players, referee Luxolo Badi did not award a penalty to Amakhosi, sparking widespread debate and criticism. The game started with a record-setting goal by Peter Shalulile, who scored just ten seconds into the match. Chiefs responded with an Ashley Du Preez penalty to level the score, but Sundowns took the lead again before halftime with another goal from Shalulile. Despite late pressure from Chiefs, the match saw Sundowns win 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. 

As the countdown to the MTN 8 final on October 7, 2023, begins, the anticipation is growing among South African football fans. Whether you bleed black and white or don the yellow of Sundowns, SportyTrader will keep you up to date with all the live action, news, and tips as we edge closer to the MTN 8 Wafa Wafa!

Read our MTN 8 Final prediction, all stats and expert opinions to help you win!

Please Gamble Responsibly
logo footer