The Buccaneers will welcome the Brazilians at Orlando Stadium and ‘Mahoota’ believes it is very important for the visitors to win this one and close the gap on Kaizer Chiefs while the hosts will look to finish better come the end of the season.
The retired striker also pointed to the fact Sundowns might find it difficult to monitor striker Gabadinho Mhango but believes coach Pitso Mosimane’s men are experienced for such encounters.
“Yeah it’s a big game indeed, you know both clubs have had contrasting fortunes so far and Pirates can’t go anywhere as far as the league title is concerned,” Mashego told Goal.
“For them, it is to finish as high as possible because they have not been consistent to win the league title. For Sundowns, it’s very important to win this match because Chiefs are stretching their lead at the top.
“It’s not much for Pirates but a win will definitely redeem them. They played very well in their last game but my concern is consistency.”
Speaking about the influence of the Malawian striker against what is known as a slow defence on the part of the reigning PSL champions, the former Moroka Swallows hitman has backed ‘Gaba’ to bother the visiting defence.
“I think the speed of Mhango will obviously be problematic for Sundowns and we know Sundowns do not have the quickest defenders,” added ‘Mahoota’.
“They play from the back but not the quickest when attacked and that will be key in the match. I am concerned because Mhango can have a good first half and disappear in the second half.
“Sundowns are experienced for this one and I think they will have a plan to deal with Pirates speed on the day. On the part of Sundowns not having Themba Zwane, I don’t think it’s a big blow because they have quality and depth to fill the gap.
“They have (Sphelele) Mkhulise, (Sibusiso Vilakazi) Vila and (Gaston) Sirino is back. I think they can tweak their formation considering the absence of Zwane in their midfield.”
On the fact that Zinnbauer will face a big team for the first time since taking the coaching role at the Houghton-based club, Mashego believes the match will have contrasting tactics and predicts a draw.
“I think it’s two coaches with different styles and ideas. I think the Pirates coach seems to be someone that likes speed, he has good ideas of how he wants Pirates to play,” continued the former striker.
“I think he likes to play on a break using speed and we know coach Pitso likes to build from the back. They always have a confident approach to the game and we will see contrasting styles on the day.
“I believe whoever is pumped up for the game will win it but my gut tells me it will be a draw. Mhango will be a threat for Sundowns but I expect Sundowns to capitalize on set pieces because Pirates seem to struggle to deal with them.”