Upset for Bucs?

2011-03-02 13:47

Orlando Pirates are just three matches away from equalling SuperSport United’s feat of going 17 matches in a row without a loss last season.

The Buccaneers go into tonight’s Absa Premiership second-round fixture against Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium unbeaten in 14 outings and pundits are unlikely to bet on a potential upset by the lowly placed KwaZulu-Natal side.

The game kicks off at 8pm.
Pirates have been on such a roll that their trail of achievements dwarfs even their low point of losing to Kaizer Chiefs twice in succession late last year.

In fact, Pirates have not lost a league match since the 3-1 defeat by Amakhosi on November 13 last year.

That Bucs have collected 34 points in the second half of the season and this should easily pit coach Rudi Krol’s outfit as odds-on favourites against a Maritzburg side that only won their first game – 1-0 over Santos.

The two sides have already met twice this season with Pirates emerging victorious from both encounters, winning 2-1 in a league and 3-0 in a Telkom Knockout semifinal tie.

The Bucs have shown a fine run of form lately, despite having had their six-game winning streak interrupted by two back-to-back draws – against Chiefs last weekend and AmaZulu a week earlier.

Following Chiefs’ goalless draw against Vasco da Gama last night, the Buccaneers now stand a chance to extend the gap at the top of the table to three points – provided second-placed Ajax Cape Town (also on 46 points) fail in their mission at Bidvest Wits in the afternoon.

While Maritzburg’s rejuvenation should send a warning to their fancied opponents tonight, the return of Tlou Segolela and Clifford Ngobeni to the Pirates make-up should be provide Krol with enough firepower in midfield to counter that.

The scorer of Maritzburg’s goal against Santos – Felix Odaba – had this to say on his club’s website this week: “I think playing to instructions is so important and that is why our performance was so great (against Santos). The team just needs to play to instructions, make less mistakes and always take our chances when they come.”

Indeed, a positive result is the main goal the team of choice is hoping to achieve, even in Soweto.

They are currently placed 14th on the table with a three- and 10-point lead over fellow strugglers Moroka Swallows and Aces respectively.

» Today’s full Absa Premiership fixture list
Free State Stars vs AmaZulu (Goble Park, 3.30pm)
Bidvest Wits vs Ajax Cape Town (Bidvest Stadium, 4pm)
Golden Arrows vs Platinum Stars (Chatsworth Stadium, 5pm)
Santos vs Bloemfontein Celtic (Athlone Stadium, 7.30pm)
SuperSport United vs Moroka Swallows (Loftus Stadium, 7.30pm)
Black Aces vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Mbombela Stadium, 7.30pm)

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