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MTN8: 5 TALKING POINTS

Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns head to the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday afternoon for a chance to leave with the MNT8 trophy. Here are five talking points ahead of the encounter.

READ: MTN8 final preview

City no strangers to MTN8 final

The Citizens are making their third appearance in the final when they host Sundowns, having won the competition once during the 2018-19 season under coach Eric Tinkler, whilst being a finalist in 2017 here they eventually lost out to SuperSport United on penalties.

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However, since their formation at the start of the 2016-17 season when owner John Comitis purchased the status of PSL outfit Mpumalanga Black Aces, they have been ever-present in the competition and Tinkler will be hoping to win his second MTN8 title with City in his second stint.

READ: 5 players to watch

Sundowns after elusive MTN8 title

The Brazilians have dominated South African football over the years and have won every trophy on offer on a domestic and continental front, but the only piece of silverware that has eluded them is the MTN8.

The last time they won the top eight title was back in 2007 when the competition was known as the SAA Super Eight Cup after they beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the final.

In Sundowns’ history of the competition, they have appeared in nine finals and won it on three occasions in 1988, 1990 and 2007, while being runners-up six times in 1992, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2016.

Sundowns will be hoping they can change their fortunes in the completion when they play Cape Town City in the deciding match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Will Sirino be ready in time?

Sundowns will be hoping to have playmaker Gaston Sirino back in contention for the final after he missed their win over AS Maniema Union in their Caf Champions League second preliminary round on Sunday due to illness.

Co-coach Rulani Mokwena confirmed that the Uruguay international is expected back for this weekends fixture, while Mothobi Mvala is being accessed, but he confirmed that Lebohang Maboe will miss the game due to his respective injury.

“Gaston missed the previous game with flu, but we expect him to be back. Apart from the Lebo Maboe injury, we don’t have too many other major situations. [Mothobi] Mvala we still have to assess,” Mokwena said.

Sundowns and CT City even in head-to-head stats

The two teams will come into this encounter equal in head-to-head stats. They have met on 13 occasions since City’s inception in 2016, with both teams claiming six wins each, while only playing to one draw.

The only upper hand Sundowns have over City is that they have outscored the Citizens 17-14 in the 13 matches but with both teams heading into the final on a win in their previous matches, picking a winner is unpredictable.

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Shalulile in red-hot form

The Namibian forward has been phenomenal in front of goal revelation for Sundowns this season and has already found the back of the net eight times from 11 appearances in all competitions.

Shalulile also got his name on the scoresheet in their 2-0 victory over DR Congo side AS Maniema Union as Sundowns sealed their progression to the Caf Champions League group stages for the seventh consecutive year.

The forward has now racked up a total of 30 goals in 51 appearances since joining Sundowns from Highlands Park two seasons ago. Shalulile’s consistency is growing into a reliable source of goals for the club, which could help the Brazilians lift the trophy that has eluded them for so long.

“My target is to end on a high with the team in every competition that we have to play, do good and hope score more goals than I did last year,” says Shalulile.

“Nothing has changed this season because I’m still the same Peter in giving my 150% at training, doing my extras, listening more to the coaches and continuing to do what I did last year. The mood in the camp is exciting. We are working together, and it is a brotherhood thing.

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