Pirates look to find cutting edge

Pirates look to find cutting edge
Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates and Aphiwe Lubisi of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates at Dr Molemela Stadium, Bloemfontein on 26 November 2017 © Frikke Kapp/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Dec 08, 2017. 09:30

Orlando Pirates will look to find a cutting edge in the Absa Premiership when they host AmaZulu at Orlando Stadium on 9 December 2017, kick-off at 20h15.

Pirates played to a goalless draw at home to SuperSport United on December 5. The Soweto side is unbeaten in their last three league matches, but overall they have drawn seven of their 13 matches in the top flight this season and coach Milutin Sredojevic will feel his side need to start turning those stalemates into victories.

The Buccaneers have a decent home record this season, with three wins, three draws and just one defeat from seven matches. That lone loss came at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns in early November, while their last home win was against Cape Town City back in September.

AmaZulu saw their home match against Bloemfontein Celtic on December 6 called off due to an unplayable pitch. Their last completed match was a 2-2 draw at Ajax Cape Town on November 25 to extend their unbeaten run to four games.

Usuthu have claimed just four points from as many away matches so far this season. All of those four points have arrived in their last two games on the road: a 2-1 win at Mamelodi Sundowns in October and the above-mentioned draw against the Urban Warriors.

In head-to-head stats, Pirates and AmaZulu have met in 53 league matches since 1985. The Buccaneers have claimed 23 wins compared to 10 for Usuthu, while 20 matches have been drawn. The Soweto giants have claimed 15 wins from 26 home league matches against the Durban side, suffering four defeats in the process.

The teams last met in the 2014/15 season, with Pirates taking four points off AmaZulu. The teams drew 1-1 in Soweto in the first half of the campaign, before the Bucs won the return leg in Durban 2-1. The last 10 matches between these teams have produced just 13 goals.

Pirates’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with SuperSport on December 5: Mabokgwane, Shitolo, Nyauza, Chabalala, Matlaba, Nyatama, Sangweni, Norodien (Kutumela 52’), Makola, Memela, Gabuza (Nkosi 90+3’).

AmaZulu’s line-up from their 2-2 draw with Ajax on November 25: Pule, Mtsweni, Ouro-Akoriko (Karuru 77'), Gumede, Sikhakhane, Morton, Ncube, Mnguni (Ntsundwana 89'), S.Dlamini, Cele, Manzini (Khenyeza 66').

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