Face-off: It’s Siwelele vs The Ghost

2011-03-05 19:48

The only question in supporters’ minds about today’s epic Absa Premiership clash between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates is: whose record will stumble at Seisa Ramabodu this afternoon?

Celtic have not lost at home this season and Pirates have not tasted defeat on the road.

So for the first time in many moons, there is no underdog going into this fixture.

A draw will keep their proud records intact, but will not suit either side’s ambitions as Bucs need all three points to get ­closer to their first league title since 2003, while Celtic have never been in such good standing on the log before.

Phunya Sele Sele are now fifth on the rung.

Both sides have strung together impressive unbeaten runs in the league this year, Celtic ­having gone 13 games without defeat while the Buccaneers are undefeated in 15 league matches.

Celtic’s last defeat was against Pirates in December.

The battle is set to extend to the stands as a myriad Celtic supporters will be out to outnumber the Ghost.

But expect a few Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns supporters to add to the home team’s numbers as they hope to halt Pirates’ charge towards the league glory.

Celtic’s coach Clinton Larsen is pleased that they are now converting draws into wins, while his Bucs counterpart Rudi Krol is happy about his players’ never-say-die attitude.

Celtic beat Santos 1-0 midweek while Bucs twice forced draws at the death against AmaZulu and Chiefs.

Pirates scored two stoppage time goals to beat Maritzburg United 3-1 midweek.

Pirates’ Happy Jele and Thulasizwe Mbuyane are back from suspension, while two former Celtic’s players, Mark Mayambela and Patrick Malokase, are likely to plot the Free State side’s downfall. They have been used as impact players coming on as late substitutes.

But there is no need to watch out for the speedy Buc’s midfielder Tlou Segolela as he’s been suspended for this game.

Ironically, Celtic went down to Malokase’s goal in the first round clash against Pirates.

Bennett Chenene, who joined Celtic from Pirates, might also come in handy. Pirates have dominated Celtic over the years as they have not lost a league game to them since the first half of the 2006/07 season. But Celtic’s 12th-man can sway it in their favour.

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