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By The Numbers: Sundowns March On With Win Over Pirates

In this week’s edition of By The Numbers, Laduma Analytics looks into the numbers behind Sundowns’ record-equalling win over the Buccaneers.

Numbers Sundowns

The latest round of mid-week PSL action saw Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates battle out a very intense match at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night. The tactical battle between the two coaches was evident all over the field, but a 1-0 win to Sundowns saw them further the distance from the chasing pack at the top of the DStv Premiership. In this week’s edition of By The Numbers, we look into the numbers behind Sundowns’ record-equalling win over the Buccaneers.


100% – Sundowns maintained their 100% win record to the start of a league campaign and are now one win away from equalling Kaizer Chiefs (2014/15) eight wins in a row at the start of a league campaign. Furthermore, their win over the Bucs now extends their lead at the top of the table to seven points.


It was a very cagey game with ball possession changing often between the two teams as well as pressure being applied intensely by both teams. Pirates often decided to play the ball long up the field 31/62 passes going long with a success rate of 50%. Mokwena on the other hand had his team play close to feet with 14/42 long balls (33% success rate) being played.

Player Passing

Another indicator of the team’s playing styles was in the player passing stats. Man of the Match, Teboho Mokoena (61) led the pass count for Sundowns from the middle of the park. Tapelo Xoki led for Pirates with 59, as the Buccaneers built up play from the back. Each managed to complete 79% and 78% of their passes with the next five players with the most passes being Rivaldo Coetzee (89%), Marcelo Allende (85%), Sipho Mbule (95%), Mothobi Mvala (84%) and Paseko Mako (87%).

Shots Taken

The tactical battle between the coaches resembled a chess match at times, as patience was the order of the day. It is a credit to Pirates that they could limit Sundowns (who average 14 shots per 90 this season), to just six in this game.

10 – shots by both teams in the game, the fewest in a game this season

0 – shots by Pirates in the first half (excluding blocked attempts)

Even with the limited shot numbers, the difference was that Sundowns managed to hit all their four shots on target. On the other hand, Pirates were less efficient, only managing one of their six attempts at Ronwen Williams’ goal. The location of shots may have contributed to this number:

3 – shots by Sundowns inside the box (1 outside)

3 – shots by Pirates inside the box (3 outside)

The image below shows Pirates’ shot patterns (for & against) this season.

Pirates will need to bounce back immediately, as they face Stellenbosch in the second leg of the MTN8 this weekend. Sundowns, host Chiefs on Saturday afternoon, and we could see a repeat of this very game should both sides ram home their 1st leg advantages.

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