Former Mamelodi Sundowns defender Phelelani Mpangase believes the quality in the Brazilians’ squad will not be enough and they will be outplayed by Orlando Pirates in Saturday’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) confrontation at Loftus Versfeld.
It would be the 2021 opener and a battle of teams that have both been mentioned as title contenders who are yet to taste defeat in this season’s campaign.
With Pirates six points behind Sundowns, although they have played a game less than the log leaders, Mpangase still gives the contest to Josef Zinnbauer and his men.
“Regardless of the fact that I played for Sundowns, let us be honest, Pirates are on top of their game at the moment,” Mpangase told Soccerladuma.
“They are doing very, very well. The intensity at which they play is very high and it’s very rare for teams to match their intensity.
“As much as Sundowns have quality players I don’t see them matching Pirates in terms of the intensity and mobility. Yes, Sundowns have a strong squad on the field and on the bench but I think Pirates will take this one because of their form and how they have been playing.”
Pirates are unbeaten with three victories but their campaign has, however, been somewhat undone by four draws.
The Soweto giants are placed fifth on the table and have managed nine goals in seven games with a striking rate that might not be too impressive against Sundowns’ 16 goals in eight matches.
Masandawana also appear better in terms of defence, having conceded five times as compared to Pirates, who have shipped in six goals despite playing fewer games.
What has dominated talk about Sundowns this season is their fiery attacking combination comprising of Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus, who have combined to contribute 13 of Downs’ 16 league goals.
Zwane has seven PSL goals in as many matches while Pirates’ top-scorers are Vincent Pule and Tshegofatso Mabasa, who have two goals each.
Zwane and Erasmus were rested in Sundowns' last league and Caf Champions League outings and could return fresher to pick up from where they left off.