Bucs: win or bow out

2013-09-22 14:00

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3-2-1: Three days, two matches, one man in danger.

Orlando Pirates face a massive three days that will see them playing two matches that could have dire consequences for their coach, Roger de Sa.

Mother Teresa once pointed out that what you spend years building can be destroyed overnight.

And what De Sa has built over the past 12 months could all end in ruin in these three most important days since he arrived in Parktown in September last year.

Pirates need a win over Egyptian giants Al Ahly in this afternoon’s final Group A match of the CAF Champions League at Orlando Stadium if they want to to secure a semifinal spot.

Then, on Tuesday, the Bucs will take a slender 1-0 lead over rivals Kaizer Chiefs into the second leg of the MTN8 semifinal at their Soweto citadel.

But De Sa was relaxed ahead of the two clashes.

Although he described today’s game as the biggest in his career, he was confident of a victory.

“I know what to expect and we are ready. The players know what is at stake and are all raring to go,” he said.

Having fluffed their chances when they lost their last two matches to AC Léopards and Zamalek away, Pirates have put themselves in an awkward position for today’s fixture.

After beating the defending champions 3-0 away from home, Pirates will be psyched for this afternoon’s game against Al Ahly, knowing it is win or bust for them.

Fortunately, they’ll be able to call on a full-strength team including Thabo Matlaba and Happy Jele, who were suspended for last weekend’s game against Léopards.

There’s also Lennox Bacela to factor in.

He has taken on the goal-scoring responsibility at the continental level.

Industrious midfielder Andile Jali has been ruled out for six weeks with a shoulder injury and will miss today’s clash.

Al Ahly, who have already qualified for the semifinals following their 4-2 win over Zamalek last weekend, currently lead Group A with 10 points, three points ahead of Pirates and Congo’s Léopards, while Zamalek lie at the bottom with four points.

Still, Al Ahly will be looking to finish at the top of the group to avoid meeting Group B winners Espérance de Tunis in the semifinals.

They will descend on Soweto wanting to avenge the home defeat against Pirates, which came during their fast.

But Pirates have come too far to throw it away at this stage, so it’s game on at Orlando Stadium today.

Bucs moment of truthToday: 3pmVenue: Orlando StadiumTV: SS4/HD4/ SABC1

Pirates Permutations

»?A win against Ahly will see them going through and topping the group, even if Leopards win

»?If three teams (Pirates, Ahly, Leopards) are tied at the top, it creates a mini league of pointsgained against the other two.

The Buccaneers would then have seven, Ahly six and Leopards four

»?If Pirates draw and Leopards win or draw, Ahly will go through as group winners, with the Congolese side

»?If Pirates lose, they are out, even if Zamalek beat Leopards. That scenario would leave another mini league, which would have Leopards on seven points, Zamalek on six and Pirates finishing at rock bottom

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