Bucs stars vs Chiefs teamwork

2010-09-25 00:00

WITH an MTN8 semi-final that is balanced on a knife-edge at 1-1 from the first leg, tomorrow’s second leg between arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium is a match of mega proportions.

FNB has become the new iconic beacon of South African sport. In the short history of the stadium since its opening from being renovated, it has hosted some not-so-small games.

They don’t come bigger than the World Cup final, while there was also the tournament opener and Ghana’s tragedy against Uruguay. The ground has been graced by the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, and perhaps the game’s greatest, Diego Maradona.

It’s a fitting backdrop for a delicately poised semi-final between Soweto’s giants.

With Chiefs having scored an “away” goal in the first leg at the same venue a fortnight ago, Amakhosi have the slight advantage. A 0-0 draw would be enough for Chiefs to reach the October 2 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The stature of the Soweto derby, though, and the need for a positive approach, are sure to see Vladimir Vermezovic’s men coming out playing the same brand of stylish football they have displayed at the start of the new season.

Bucs have it all to play for and, being the team that most desperately needs goals, should produce the more attacking football, especially early on.

Siphiwe Tshabalala, returning for the third time this season already to the site of his now legendary World Cup opening goal, said Chiefs won’t change too much tomorrow.

“We’ll just continue with the way we’ve been playing,” the left midfielder said. “We do have an advantage because we scored an away goal.

“It’s going to be a different game because they’re definitely going to come at us. They’re a ball-playing team; they like attacking a lot. So it’s going to be an open game. But I’ll be happy if I can score one.”

Tshabalala identified young defensive midfielder Andile Jali (20) as the player who makes Pirates tick.

“Andile Jali can make the team play and win the battles in the midfield. They also have Isaac Chansa, Daine Klate and Tlou Segolela, so there’s plenty of quality in their team.

“We don’t really rely on individuals at Chiefs. Most of it is teamwork. But we do also have players who are capable of winning games for us such as Knowledge Musona, Abia Nale and Mthokizisi Yende, so it’s going to be an interesting game,” Tshabalala said.

Almost as confirmation of the Chiefs midfielder’s view that Bucs will come out attacking Amakhosi, Pirates coach Ruud Krol said his side will be pushing to score early.

“We cannot afford to sit back and allow Chiefs to come at us,” the Dutchman said. “We need to attack from the first minute and try to get the all-important early goal.”

So dwarfed has it been by the Soweto derby that it has almost been forgotten that there are two semi-finals in the competition.

Ajax Cape Town go into their second leg game against Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium today at a disadvantage, having wasted scoring opportunities to draw the first leg 0-0.

Swallows have not set the league on fire at the start of the season, and are currently in third-last place. But the Birds have looked a tighter combination under former Bayern Munich midfielder Rainer Zobel than their results have suggested, and have a potential match winner in veteran forward Siyabonga Nomvete.

 

MTN8 SEMI-FINALS, SECOND LEGS

Today: Moroka Swallows v Ajax Cape Town – first leg 0-0 (Dobsonville Stadium, 3 pm – live on SABC1 and SuperSport 4)

Tomorrow: Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates – first leg 1-1 (FNB Stadium, 3 pm – live on SABC1, SuperSport 4 and SuperSport HD)

Bucs have it all to play for and, being the team that most desperately needs goals, should produce the more attacking football.

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