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MTN8: Quarter-finals Preview

The entrancing and beguiling MTN8

The entrancing and beguiling MTN8 gets underway this weekend with four crunch clashes as the eight top clubs from last season battle it out for the R8-million prize money. Three fixtures are on the menu on Saturday as Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United cross swords while the defending champions Cape Town City host Polokwane City. Later on, Orlando Pirates do battle with Highlands Park before Mamelodi Sundowns lock horns with rejuvenated Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday. These are the teams that I think will go through to the penultimate stage of the competition.

Saturday 17 August

Cape Town City 11/10 
Draw 21/10 
Polokwane City 24/10 

Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City paraded some electrifying football in their 1-0 win over Stellenbosch last week with Chris David netting the solitary goal which saw them collect maximum points. Had it not been for poor finishing, they’d have put the game to bed in the first half. The invigorating display left the coach very impressed and it will be difficult for whoever crosses their path at this point. 

On the other hand, Polokwane City have won both their opening league games 1-0 to collect maximum points so far this season.  Zlatko Krmpotic seems to be a demanding tactician as he says the two narrow wins won’t blind him from seeing that his team hasn’t payed well. I foresee a tight encounter with the hosts just about edging it.

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Bidvest Wits 1/1 
Draw 22/10 
SuperSport United 5/2 

Both teams have midweek action ahead of this encounter and that might have a bearing on how it unfolds in terms of players sustaining injuries or getting suspended. It will be interesting to see which Wits pitches up on the day after being so inconsistent in their opening two league games. SuperSport have a tough league fixture against Orlando Pirates before this match and they have already lost their season opener 2-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns. 

The fixture list doesn’t seem too kind to Matsatsantsa a Pitori as straight after this Wits game they face rejuvenated Kaizer Chiefs. Coach Kaitano Tembo must really juggle these competitions wisely. What I realized is that the combination of Thamsanqa Gabuza and Bradley Grobler was easily dealt with by Sundowns by cutting the supply from the flanks. Much of SuperSport’s chances this game depend on how their midweek tie against Orlando Pirates goes. Still, Bidvest Wits should win here.

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Orlando Pirates 6/10 
Draw 5/2 
Highlands Park 9/2 

Both these teams haven’t really played their best football despite Pirates winning their league opener against Bloemfontein Celtic 3-1. The Buccaneers went on to lose 1-0 to Green Eagles in the CAF Champions League. Coach Milutin Sredojevic is under pressure to win something this season and this competition provides a golden opportunity for him to endear himself to the Pirates faithful. 

Highlands Park have lost one and drawn one of their first two league games. Their attack is very good with players like Mothobi Mvala, Peter Shalulile and Rodney Ramagalela who have all found the back of the net this season, but they really need to work on their defence. Expect Pirates to triumph at Orlando Stadium.

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Mamelodi Sundowns 5/10 
Draw 28/10 
Bloemfontein Celtic 5/1 

Mamelodi Sundowns outclassed SuperSport United whom they beat 2-0 in their league opener, but they came unstuck against Otoho D'Oyo who beat them 2-1 in the CAF Champions League. As much as the South African champions like prioritizing the league and the Champions League, they wouldn’t want to crash out in the first hurdle of this knockout competition and I expect them to bring their A-game. 

Bloemfontein Celtic have really impressed me as only luck eluded them in the 3-1 defeat to Orlando Pirates and they showed what they’re capable of when they trounced Golden Arrows 5-0 this past weekend. The team had five different scorers on the day and with experienced players like Andile Fikizolo, Menzi Masuku, Ndumiso Mabena and Harris Tchilimbou in attack, they will be a force to be reckoned with. This is a tricky one to call but I will back a draw.

QUAD @ 24/1
Cape Town City Win 11/10
Bidvest Wits Win 1/1
Orlando Pirates Win 6/10
Sundowns vs Bloem Celtic Draw 28/10

Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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