Buccaneer’s title destiny in their own hands

2012-05-05 19:15

Moroka Swallows threw a spanner in the works with their convincing 5-2 away win over Black Leopards on Friday night.

The Birds’ victory, which took them to second on the log, means leaders Orlando Pirates need to win their remaining two games to retain the title.

Anything less than two victories will put the Birds in the inside lane as they face two clubs, Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United, who have nothing to gain as they have secured their Absa Premiership status.

Pirates have become odds-on favourites to clinch their second title in two seasons, although they still have to play Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows.

But history has a cautionary tale for Pirates.

Needing a point to clinch the championship in their final match against Jomo Cosmos at the end of the 1992 season, pundits figured that the relationship between Jomo Sono and the club where he and his father are legends would mean that Cosmos would merely show up to fulfil the fixture.

But that day Cosmos pulled off one of the biggest defeats against Pirates, mesmerising the favourites 5-1 in front of a bewildered crowd at the FNB Stadium.

But if being on home ground plays any role in football, Pirates could bring home the proverbial bacon by lifting the title next weekend – should Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Swallows fail to collect maximum points in the penultimate matches of the campaign.

Sundowns and SuperSport, who meet in a Tshwane derby on Saturday, will cancel each other out irrespective of the result.

Bucs could wrap up what could be a successful defence of the league title on Saturday when they host Celtic at a venue that has become their fortress – Orlando Stadium, where they have not lost a league game all season.

Augusto Palacios’ men are top with only two games to go, but they have to finish the job and ensure celebrations have not been premature.

The pressure is on Pirates and Palacios is well aware of it.

This season has been characterised by inconsistencies at the top with all title chasers marred by indifferent results.

At one stage Sundowns had a 10-point lead at the top but find themselves three behind Pirates.

Pirates, on the other hand, could have been home and dry by now had it not been for the three consecutive draws preceding their recent victory over SuperSport.

Matsatsantsa went six games without scoring a goal.

The basement battle is equally interesting with three teams fighting their hardest to stave off relegation.

Cosmos have been at the bottom since the start of the campaign.

Santos are also staring relegation in the face after a disappointing season.

The Cape side has been languishing at the wrong end of the table for the better part of the campaign and look a sure bet to have a place in the play-offs.

Black Leopards are also still not out of danger.

The contest might be all over by Saturday or we might have to wait yet another week for all to be over bar the shouting.

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