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Maela: Sundowns Have Weaknesses  

  • May 30, 2024
  • 2 min read
Maela: Sundowns Have Weaknesses  

Orlando Pirates skipper Innocent Maela believes Cape Town City’s recent upset against Mamelodi Sundowns proves the Brazilians are beatable.

He’s confident the Sea Robbers can exploit their weaknesses and emerge victorious in the Nedbank Cup final.

This Saturday’s encounter at Mbombela Stadium marks the fourth meeting between the South African giants this season. Pirates already tasted cup success against Sundowns in October, defeating them on penalties to retain the MTN8 crown.

Meanwhile, Masandawana’s hopes of an unbeaten league season were dashed by a surprise defeat to Cape Town City in the final round last Saturday. Maela sees this as an opportunity, stating,

“We will do our pre-match analysis and look at the spaces and the moments where we can exploit them,” Maela said.  

“They are a good team, but they also have weaknesses just like any other team. We saw over the weekend [against CT City] that anything can happen when you play the game the right way.”  

The 31-year-old defender welcomes the extra time for preparation. “We will plan and take our time, and it’s good that we also have the whole week to prepare for the game because there were moments in the season where we didn’t have enough time to prepare,” he said.  

“We will prepare well, we will be ready, and I am sure that we will discuss as a team some of the things we need to do and execute during the match,” insists Maela, who will be hoping to lift another trophy as the Sea Robbers’ skipper in his hometown.  

Pirates’ coach Jose Riveiro boasts an undefeated record against Sundowns in cup competitions. He secured a 3-0 victory in the second leg of the 2022 MTN8 semi-final after a scoreless first leg, followed by a penalty shootout triumph in the final. Since arriving in South Africa, Riveiro hasn’t lost a domestic cup final.

The stakes are high. Pirates aim to defend their title, while Sundowns seek their third trophy this season, having already secured the inaugural African Football League and a record-extending seventh DStv Premiership title.

Article by Trevor Magoro

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