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Sun could set on Mamelodi Sundowns going down in a penalty shootout in MTN8

Denis Onyango, Captain of Mamelodi Sundowns manages to survive the penalty shot by Sbonelo Cele of Lamontville Golden Arrows during the DStv Premiership game. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Denis Onyango, Captain of Mamelodi Sundowns manages to survive the penalty shot by Sbonelo Cele of Lamontville Golden Arrows during the DStv Premiership game. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Oct 29, 2021


Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns have built up an enviable reputation of being thoroughly prepared for matches and their coaching triumvirate of Manqoba Mngqithi, Rhulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela would have noticed the club have had a dreadful run in the history of MTN8 final penalty shoot-outs.

It is going to be a vital area of research when preparing for tomorrow’s showpiece at Moses Mabhida Stadium. The record books show that six previous MTN8 finals have been decided by penalty shoot-outs. Of these six finals, Cape Town City and Sundowns have collectively featured four times.

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Sundowns have featured in two MTN8 final penalty shoot-outs and each time they ended up on the losing side, both coming at the hands of rivals Kaizer Chiefs.

ALSO READ: Cape Town City anticipate exciting MTN8 final clash against Sundowns

In 2001, Sundowns and Chiefs played to a 2-2 draw after regulation time failed to separate the teams. Chiefs won the thrilling shoot-out 7-6.

The 2008 final ended in a 0-0 draw and Chiefs went on to win the penalty shootout 4-3.

Earlier this season, Sundowns finally snapped the run of eight failed MTN8 penalty shoot-outs in all rounds after their 2-1 penalty shoot-out win against Chiefs in a MTN8 quarter-final clash.

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City and their coach Eric Tinkler have enjoyed mixed fortunes in the competition. City won the tournament in 2018 when they won the shoot-out 4-1 against SuperSport United. The shoot-out marked a personal triumph for goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh who was outstanding between the sticks during the match.

ALSO READ: Upsets in cup football can happen, says Sundowns’ Rulani Mokwena ahead of MTN8 final

In the 2017 final, Tinkler guided SuperSport to victory after the match against City ended in 1-1 draw. SuperSport went on to win the shoot-out 4-3.

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Of the coaches on duty tomorrow, only Tinkler and Mngqithi have landed the MTN8 title. Mngqithi wrote his name into the annals of MTN8 finals history after he guided Golden Arrows to victory in 2009. Arrows thumped Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in the final and that scoreline is still the biggest winning margin ever in a domestic knockout championship round match.

Tomorrow’s final also gives Tinkler and Mngqithi a chance to write another chapter in the history of the MTN8, because whichever team wins will allow the mentor to join a select group of coaches who have won the competition twice.

City will go into the match as decided underdogs and Tinkler is happy to settle for that tag as it will takes the pressure off his team.

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The Bafana Bafana legend described the Brazilians as the favourites, but he is confident that his charges will put on a good performance in Durban

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Tinkler says they are happy to accept the underdog tag heading into tomorrow’s final against Sundowns.

His team had an excellent warm-up in last week’s 4-3 win over Arrows after leading 4-0 at one stage in their Premiership clash. He says there have been good vibes at training this week and he was reminded of similar sentiments in the Orlando Pirates squad when he coached there in 2015.

He steered Pirates to the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup final and knows a thing or two about the expectations of such a match.

“It is important for the teams to enjoy the moment,” said Tinkler. “We are playing against a very good team in Mamelodi Sundowns who are the definite favourites.

“We go in as the underdogs and that’s a good position to be in, in my opinion.

“We have worked extremely hard in terms of our preparation and our planning. I am pretty confident that the boys will want to go out there and put on a good performance.”

Mokwena said City had a well-rounded team that will be highly competitive and capable. He felt City was well equipped with specialists in several positions.

“We expect a very difficult match against a very good side. When you speak of preparations and analysis, you look at two facets,” said Mokwena. “The one is from a personnel aspect. Cape Town City probably have close to the most complete sides. They have specialists in every position and very good players.

ALSO READ: Mamelodi Sundowns’ Rhulani Mokwena has friends with MTN8 final benefits

“Already with regards to the data and the analysis that we’ve gone through, you can already see that it’s two teams with similar playing profiles.

“They initiate the way they want the game to be played by using the ball and want to be dominant. We expect when there’s a clash of styles, methodologies, game approaches then you look to win the game on other different factors that contribute in terms of performance.

“City’s structure is a bit more complex because in the last four games they’ve had two different structures.

“They are a very interesting team, a team that is only second to Sundowns in relation to possession. They are a team that is only second to SuperSport United in terms of efficiency on their transitions.

“They have a team that has seven players that create big chances on average per match. They have eight players who create over 50 passes in relation to possession and looking for the ball, and willingness to play.”

History will be on the side of Sundowns tomorrow. They have also outscored City 17-14 in the 13 matches since the Cape Town side purchased the top-flight status of Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2016.