Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates | Saturday 31 October | FNB Stadium | 15:30
The PSL will come to a standstill on Saturday afternoon when Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates lock horns in the first Soweto Derby of the season. Both teams have battled to produce positive results in the league but have impressed in their respective cup competitions.
*Please note the featured game was written prior to midweek fixtures being played.
To Win (90 Mins)
Kaizer Chiefs played to a disappointing goalless draw at Jomo Cosmos last time out. Despite the result, the league’s defending champions moved up to sixth spot on the table with eleven points - just five points off the current log-leaders, Bidvest Wits. Chiefs remain unbeaten after seven matches but have recorded only two victories, drawing five times. Steve Komphela’s team also booked their place in the Telkom Knockout semi-finals after beating Mpumalanga black Aces 2-1 at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday - Camal Abraw and Eric Mathoho getting the goals for Chiefs.
Itumeleng Khune was absent in the Cosmos game due to a minor injury, however, he returned for the quarter-final clash against Black Aces and his experience will be imperative for Amakhosi. Eric Mathoho has been outstanding at the back for the Glamour Boys and his presence alone is a key factor to his team’s performance. He is big and strong and blessed with pace and power. He is also an aerial threat from set-pieces.
Siphiwe Tshabalala has been excellent for Chiefs. He has scored two league goals and has a couple of assists to his name as well. Tshabalala is a skilful player, with an eye to pick out even the most difficult of passes.
George Lebese is Amakhosi’s top scorer in the league with three goals. The 26-year old has impressed for the champions this season, resulting in a Bafana Bafana call-up. Not only is Lebese great on the ball, he does a fine job off it. His movement helps get his teammates into better positions and he will definitely play a vital role for Chiefs in the derby.
In a match that saw three red cards and one goal, Orlando Pirates suffered a 1-0 defeat in front of their own fans against a nine-man Bidvest Wits side last week Wednesday. Eric Tinkler's charges have been in abysmal form in the league thus far, making their worst start to a season in 20 years. They sit eleventh on the log with only one win from six games and have only managed to score five goals. None of those goals have been scored on the 'Bucs travels and their attackers will need to be at their very best to breach Chiefs' backline, who've conceded just 14 goals in 30 league games last season.
However, they have performed well in Africa, making their way to the Confederations Cup final, and it's that kind of form they will be aiming to replicate when they take on the Glamour boys.
Pirates did produce an improved performance at the weekend, beating Maritzburg United 2-0 in the Telkom Knockout Cup at Orlando Stadium; resulting in a semi-final clash with the Glamour Boys. Mpho Makola has been a revelation for Bucs this season, scoring three of their five league goals. The 29-year old has quick feet along with a burst of pace that allows him to glide past opposing defenders at will. Pirates will need his eye for goal to stand a chance of leaving the FNB Stadium with maximum points.
Thabo Rakhale is another constant attacking threat. He has scored four goals in the Confederations Cup and one in the Telkom Knockout. Rakhale has plenty of skill and speed, along with the ability to drive forward from the midfield and score those vital goals for the Sea Robbers.
Kermit Erasmus has been another stand-out player for the Buccaneers this season. His stamina, agility and movement are essential to his team’s game-plan. He is one of four Pirates players that have been nominated for CAF's Africa-based Player of the Year. Erasmus and his strike partner, Thamsanqa Gabuza, have been key to Pirates' journey in the Confederations Cup, as both forwards have scored five goals each in this year's competition and are now being rewarded for their efforts.
Verdict: Kaizer Chiefs 13/20
Chiefs haven’t lost to Pirates in the last seven meetings. They have won three of the games while drawing the other four. The form book usually goes out the window in these derby encounters and it should be a tight match as usual. However, Pirates are lacking energy, pace and movement going forward and it could be the Confederations Cup duties that are taking their toll. Back Amakhosi to claim the bragging rights with a crucial victory.
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