Two of the strongest and most popular teams in the South African Premier Soccer League clash in the Soweto derby, the traditional super-charged atmosphere is expected...
Second-placed Pirates host third-placed Chiefs in a key PSL (Premier Soccer League) encounter that will certainly end the title hopes for one of the two Soweto sides. Mathematically, they both still have a chance of leapfrogging SuperSport in the last three games of the season, if the leaders slip up at the top and allow them to pass.
Pirates find themselves on 48 points, six below league leaders SuperSport, but with a game in hand over them. The same is true for Chiefs, who are one point bellow Pirates, still harbouring the hope that a slip from both second and third could allow them to steal the show at the very end of the season. One thing is certain however; the loser of this encounter will have no chance at lifting the PSL trophy in a few weeks time. Both of these sides boast a tough defence.
Pirates have conceded only 17 goals all season, which is less than any other club, with Lucas Thwala and captain Lehlohonolo Seema forming the best defensive partnership in the land. The pair have formed an almost impenetrable shield for erratic goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.
Chiefs' back line have come a long way since the beginning of the season, conceding 19 goals in the first 14 games. A great defensive acquisition in January and more recently the return to fitness of Dominic Isaacs has helped the Amakhosi to strengthen their rearguard, plugging the holes that were present earlier in the campaign. This encounter will be a stern test for both of these defensive units.
Pirates go into this game with a full strength team, as the Bucs boast no injuries or suspensions with the season winding down to an exciting finish.
Chiefs are fortunate enough not to have any players suspended for this Soweto showdown, but they will have to do without the services of Thabang Rooi and Punch Masenamela who are unavailable through injury.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Teko Modise has been a threat to all his opponents this season, when he has represented Bafana Bafana as well as the Buccaneers. His speed and accurate shooting are strengths that have served him well in the PSL, and he will be hoping to make use of those attributed in Saturday’s game as one of the symbols of the Bucs.
Siphiwe Tshabalala is an unpredictable force in the Amakhosi midfield, and his contribution on the pitch is often of a fine quality. His five PSL goals this season have helped Chiefs to place in third, one point behind their Soweto rivals, but he will be hoping to go a step further, beating Pirates and securing a second place finish at the end of the season.
Pirates are desperate to make a last ditch lunge at the final piece of silverware available, and in order to do that they will need to keep the pressure on SuperSport at the front of the pack. The Bucs have what it takes to get a win at Ellis Park. Pirates 2-1 Chiefs
Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com