Written by @Wayde_D for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Orlando Pirates vs Zamalek | Saturday 17 August | Orlando Stadium | 20:15
To Win (90mins)
Orlando Pirates 17/20
Pirates sit on top of the pile by virtue of goal difference after beating Al Ahly 3-0 in Egypt two weeks ago. The Buccaneers were always in command against their Egyptian opponents in a clash moved from Cairo to El Gouna because of security concerns. The match was also played in front of an empty stadium. Thandani Ntshumayelo opened the scoring after playing a superb one-two, Andile Jali scored a penalty after Al Ahly went down to ten men and Sifiso Myeni wrapped the match up with the third goal. Pirates started the group stages with a 1-1 draw against AC Leopards at Orlando Stadium. Pirates’ preparations for Saturday’s clash against Zamalek suffered a major setback with the news that defender Rooi Mahamutsa and striker Collins Mbesuma are both out due to injury. The duo suffered injuries during Sunday’s MTN8 quarter-final clash against SuperSport United, which the Buccaneers won on penalties.
Having won eleven league titles, 21 Egyptian cups, five CAF Champions League titles, three CAF Super Cups and the African Cup Winners' Cup, Zamalek is one of the most successful teams in the history of African football. However, they were plunged into crisis on the eve of their departure for South Africa. A potential riot was averted at the weekend as supporters protested outside their headquarters in Cairo; two key players are refused to play in a dispute over their salaries and Zamalek's leading striker is sidelined for the match. International forward Ahmed Gaafar received a second booking in Zamalek's last match in Group A, a 1-0 defeat away to Leopards, and sits out the encounter against Pirates because of an automatic one-match ban. It leaves their winger Ahmed Eid as the likely option to lead the attack in a reflection of the player crisis at the cash-strapped club.
VERDICT: Orlando Pirates 17/20
Pirates managed to capitalise on Al Ahly’s struggles two weeks back and will have another opportunity to beat Egyptian opponents whose fitness will have suffered due to fasting. Pirates will also benefit from home ground advantage and should claim the win.
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