Who is Sundowns' main PSL title rival between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates?

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Goal assesses the chances of the two Soweto heavyweights as the race for the PSL title begins to heat up

Both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are still in with a chance to mount a serious title challenge despite trailing the Mamelodi Sundowns by five points with 11 games to go.

Following Amakhosi's draw at home to Sundowns, and Pirates' win away to Platinum Stars, which Soweto giants should be considered as Sundowns' main rivals for the league title?

The Sea Robbers have improved in front of goal, while the Glamour Boys have been solid in defence, and it is for this reason that the majority of fans would find it very hard to predict where the two sides will finish on the log this season. 

With Pirates in action against Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday, a win will see them put the pressure on their arch-rivals, and also on log leaders Sundowns. 

Orlando Pirates players, Abbubaker Mobara, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Mpho Makola & Thabiso Kutumela

Since the resumption of the 2017/18 PSL season earlier this year, Pirates have scored nine goals in four matches. Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic appears to have found the solution to the team's goalscoring woes.

Luvuyo Memela, Thembinkosi Lorch, Justin Shonga, and Mpho Makola are all hitting form at the right time.

The four attackers are all key to the team’s offensive style of play which enables them to cut open any defence in the PSL.

This was evident as the four-time PSL champions brushed aside arguably the best team in the league, Sundowns, 3-1 in Tshwane two weeks ago, before defeating Platinum Stars side 2-0 in Rustenburg over the weekend.

However, with Chiefs not in action until Saturday night, they will have to make the most of this opportunity by beating Ajax. By so doing, they will move away from Amakhosi, opening a three-point lead over them, and at the same, cut Sundowns' lead at the top to just two points. 

While Wednesday's encounter is not neccessarily a must-win for Pirates, it's important for them to get return from the Mother City with all the points on offer and ease the pressure on themselves going into the final matches of the season, especially now that they also have Cape Town City to deal with in front of them. 

Micho Sredojevic and Steve Komphela - Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs

On the other hand, Chiefs have brought in Leonardo Castro from Sundowns in an effort to add more firepower upfront. The Colombian striker scored on debut against Baroka FC, but he might need some time to adjust to Amakhosi's style of play.

Steve Komphela’s side has relied on Ryan Moon for goals in recent weekes with the lanky striker scoring in back-to-back games against Polokwane City and Baroka respectively, but the young striker's Big Match Temperament (BMT) was severely tested against Sundowns on Saturday.

After two-and-a-half years at the club, Komphela appears to be only finding his feet now, while Sredojevic looks like a coach who knows exactly what he is doing at Bucs.

The Serbian tactician's top priority when he arrived at the Houghton-based side was to fix their team's leaking defence, and he has managed to do so as the Soweto giants boast one of the best defensive records in the league having conceded 14 goals in 19 games.

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Chiefs & Pirates records

If a solid defence wins you titles, then scoring goals wins you games. Micho has mastered this in his first few months in charges, although it took him longer than expected to figure out that his team wasn't scoring enough goals. 

As things stand, Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United are both not in the title race. City and Sundowns will soon have to have juggle both domestic and continental football, which could give Pirates the edge in the race for the title, but that starts with beat Ajax and breaking away from Amakhosi on Wednesday night. 

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