Match Facts: Stellenbosch v Orlando Pirates

This will be the first meeting between these two sides in the MTN8, though they have previously clashed in the Telkom Knockout. Pirates won 1-0 in that occasion in 2019, with Thembinkosi Lorch getting the only goal.

Pirates are the defending MTN8 champions after they lifted the trophy last year, immediate success for their then new coach Jose Riveiro. They beat Royal AM 2-1 in the quarterfinals, before a 0-0 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of their semifinal. Pirates then turned on the style to win the return 3-0, before beating AmaZulu 1-0 in the decider at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Pirates’ win in the quarterfinals this year – a thumping 5-0 success over Sekhukhune United, means they have now lost just one of their last 10 MTN8 matches (2-1 to Moroka Swallows in 2021).

Stellenbosch are playing in the MTN8 for the second season in a row having debuted in 2022. They hosted Kaizer Chiefs in the quarterfinals but lost on penalties following a 1-1 draw. They beat SuperSport United 1-0 in this year’s quarters.

Orlando Pirates’ record at Stellenbosch reads played five, won one, drawn two and lost two. They have actually already travelled to the Winelands Club this season, but lost 1-0 to an Antonio Van Wyk goal in the opening round of the league.

It should be stated this game is being played away from Stellenbosch’s usual home of the Danie Craven Stadium, where they enjoy a fervent local support. Instead it will be staged some 45 kilometres away at the Athlone Stadium.

Pirates coach Jose Riveiro is now unbeaten in 10 knockout games in South African football since he joined the club at the start of the 2022/23 campaign. That includes five matches in the MTN8 (W4 D1) and five more in the Nedbank Cup (W4 D1).

It has been feast or famine for Pirates in the MTN8 in their previous nine appearances in the competition. They have gone out in the quarterfinals in five of those years and reached the final in the other four! They have claimed title victories in two of the last three years, and lost the 2013 and 2014 finals.

Pirates winger Monnapule Saleng had a superb 2022 MTN8 and was named the Last Man Standing at the end of season PSL awards. He scored three goals, including the winner in the final and was instrumental in The Buccaneers’ success.

Pirates have reached seven semifinals since MTN took over sponsorship of the competition in 2008, and won six of those, an excellent conversion rate once they get to this stage of the competition.