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8 Cup

Orlando Pirates optimism, Kaizer Chiefs concern

20:39 EAT 02/10/2022
Kaizer Chiefs fans October 2022
It was a tale of two MTN8 semi-final stalemates as Bucs held Masandawana to a 0-0 on Saturday and Amakhosi drew 1-1 with AmaZulu on Sunday

Orlando Pirates have in recent months suggested it's them rather than Kaizer Chiefs who are closest to all-conquering Mamelodi Sundowns.

A convincing 0-0

Pirates more than matched the illustrious Sundowns and were unlucky not to win the first leg game as they hit the woodwork and had several other good chances at the Orlando Stadium.

The Buccaneers are currently second, five points behind Downs on the league table, but with a game in hand.

On the evidence of the cup match against Sundowns, as well as their overall form in recent weeks, it's starting to look like the Buccaneers are the strongest contenders to challenge the Brazilians.

There's more fluidity and rhythm to the Pirates side compared to Amakhosi and new Bucs head coach Jose Riveiro appears to have his men well organized.

Two excellent late transfer signings in Kermit Erasmus and Ndlondlo have given Bucs a further boost - which was tangible against the Brazilians.

A number of their other recent signings including Miguel Timm, Nkosinathi Sibisi and Tapelo Xoki are really flourishing and there are a several quality players starting to come back from injury including Vincent Pule and Evidence Makgopa.

Bucs are by no means a free-scoring side. But with Erasmus now there, Zakhele Lepasa in good form as well as the emergence of Monnapule Saleng not to mention back-up from Makgopa, Deon Hotto, Kwame Peprah, Bienvenu Eva Nga, Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch, the Buccaneers have a lot of good options.

Defensively the Sea Robbers have been very sound with just four conceded in 10 games. Amakhosi have conceded 11 times in the same number of league and cup matches.

A fortunate 1-1

Chiefs also drew in their MTN8 semi, 1-1 with AmaZulu. Amakhosi though had very much been second best for the first half of the opening stanza and then their cause was helped by AmaZulu having to play the final 35 minutes with 10 men after the sending off of Vuluyeke Zulu.

It took a player who should be starting for Chiefs, Keagan Dolly, to come off the bench and rescue the side.

In short, Chiefs don't seem to have very many players playing especially well right now.

Amakhosi's new signings meanwhile have been continuing to blow hot and cold and their lack of composure in front of goal was highlighted with some big misses by Ashley du Preez and Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana. Overall it was not a convincing performance from the Glamour Boys.

As things stand, it must surely be Pirates fans who are feeling more optimistic about the season ahead compared to their Kaizer Chiefs counterparts.

What next

The next few weeks are very busy and will provide a clearer picture of how far apart the Soweto rivals are.

Amakhosi face Swallows, Stellenbosch FC, Chippa United and TS Galaxy before their second leg encounter with AmaZulu on October 23.

The Sea Robbers play Sekhukhune United, Richards Bay, AmaZulu and Golden Arrows before meeting Sundowns in the second leg on October 22.