Pirates out to continue fine form

Orlando Pirates will aim to continue their fine form when they take on Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium Stadium on Saturday, 1 December 2018.

Kick-off is at 8.15pm CAT.

Pirates’ unbeaten run in the league was stretched to nine matches when they held champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a goalless away draw on November 10. The Soweto side has taken 19 points from a possible 27 in the sequence.

The Buccaneers have claimed nine points from six home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 2-1 victory over cross-town rivals Kaizer Chiefs in late October.

Maritzburg have gone five league matches without a win after they were held 0-0 at home by Chippa United on November 27. The KwaZulu-Natal club’s only win this term came at Bloemfontein Celtic in September.

The Team of Choice has claimed four points from as many away matches this season, with their last result on the road a loss at Polokwane City in late October.

In head-to-head stats, Maritzburg and Pirates have met in 24 league matches since 2005/06. The Buccaneers have claimed 12 wins compared to six for the Team of Choice, while six matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has won seven of their 12 home league matches against their Pietermaritzburg counterparts, suffering two defeats in the process.

Pirates took four points off United in the teams’ two league meetings last season, drawing 0-0 in Pietermaritzburg before claiming a 2-1 win in the return in Soweto. Four of the teams’ last seven league meetings have ended in draws.

Previous line-ups

Pirates’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with Sundowns on November 10: Mpontshane, Jele, Munetsi, Mbekile, Maela, Motshwari, Mlambo, Pule (Qalinge 78’), Lorch, Kutumela (Mulenga 66’), Shonga (Mntambo 86’).

Maritzburg’s line-up from their 0-0 draw with Chippa on November 27: Ofori, De Reuck, Xulu, Onyango, Figueredo (Atouba 54’), Makaringe, Ndlovu, Kunene, Mokate (Fileccia 73’), Zakri, Mekoa (Shandu 61’).

What the teams are saying

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic

“When we look behind us we have things to be proud of. If there’s something to be proud of, winning three Derbies in one year I think it does not happen in a long time,” said ‘Micho’ after his team trumped Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout.

“We are happy with what we have achieved, it’s motivation to work harder and to get better. We are looking forward to use, in the best possible way, the biggest power given to us and that is to make our supporters happy and proud of us.”

Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids

“This was a tough match against a good team,” said Davids after his side was held 0-0 by Chippa United in midweek, extending their wait for a first home win this season.

“We need to be more aggressive in front of goal. I think we had the better chances. We have to continue, keep working and believing.”

Maritzburg United key players

Richard Ofori – With Pirates’ attack firing strongly in recent times, Maritzburg United’ Richard Ofori can expect a busy evening. The Ghanaian is a fine all-round goalkeeper and will aim to put in a strong showing against the Buccaneers.

Mohau Mokate – Maritzburg have generally struggled for goals this season, but against an attack-minded Pirates they may find some space to exploit on the counter. If this is the case, then the pace and movement of Mohau Mokate will be a potent part of their forward plans.

Orlando Pirates key players

Thembinkosi Lorch – A strong performance in the 2-1 Telkom Knockout win over Kaizer Chiefs last weekend has brought Thembinkosi Lorch back to the fore at Orlando Pirates. The versatile attacker will hope to continue his form in this clash in Soweto.

Happy Jele – Matches can often get heated when big teams take on the ambitious Team of Choice and Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele will need to keep his cool and composure – and ensure that his teammates do the same against what is bound to be a ‘prickly’ Maritzburg United.