Pirates look to maintain strong home record

Pirates look to maintain strong home record
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates challenged by Solomon Mathe and Vuyo Mere of Platinum Stars during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg South Africa on 08 February 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 16:00

Orlando Pirates will be banking on their strong home record in the Absa Premiership when they host Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium on 18 October 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Pirates have gone two matches without a win after they were held 2-2 at Polokwane City on September 30. The Soweto side scored twice through striker Thamsanqa Gabuza - including a last-gasp equaliser - to record their third draw of the season.

The Buccaneers boast a 100 percent record at home this season, having won all three of their matches 1-0 (they’ve defeated Chippa United, Ajax Cape Town and Cape Town City). Coach Milutin Sredojevic will hope a return to Orlando Stadium sees his team return to top form.

Stars are still without a win this season and suffered a fifth loss in the space of seven games when they went down 1-0 at home to Mamelodi Sundowns on October 1. The Rustenburg side has scored just two goals and shipped 10, indicating major problems at both ends of the field.

Dikwena can at least take some comfort from their last away match, a 1-1 draw at AmaZulu in September. If they can produce a performance of similar grit, they could well provide a problem or two for their illustrious hosts.

In head-to-head stats, Pirates and Stars have met in 28 league matches since 2003/04. The Buccaneers have claimed 14 wins compared to just two for Dikwena, while 12 matches have been draw. The Soweto giants have win six of their 14 home league matches against Stars, suffering just one defeat in the process.

Last season the teams shared the spoils in both league matches: the encounter in Soweto in the first half of the campaign ended 1-1, while the return in Rustenburg was a goalless stalemate. The teams have played to draws in four of their last five league meetings.

Pirates’ line-up from their 2-2 draw with Polokwane on September 30: Sandilands, Dube, Nyauza, Jele, Maela, Mobara (Rakhale 83’), Nyatama, Lorch (Shonga 66’), Makola, Qalinge (Morrison 76’), Gabuza.

Stars’ line-up from their 1-0 loss to Sundowns on October 1: Mzimela, Mhwedihanga, Zulu, Mlilo, Mere, Msomi (Masalesa 79'), Mkhabela, Ng'ambi, Mbatha (Otladisa 46'), Sesinyi (Shilongo 67'), Ntuli.

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