Pirates look to keep themselves in title contention

Pirates look to keep themselves in title contention
Thabo Qalinge of Orlando Pirates challenged by Reeve Frosler of Bidvest Wits during the 2017/18 Absa Premiership football match between Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 23 September 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Apr 25, 2018. 12:30

Orlando Pirates will look to keep themselves in Absa Premiership title contention when they host Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on 25 April 2018, kick-off at 19h30.

Pirates extended their unbeaten run in the league to seven matches – and returned to winning form – by defeating AmaZulu 2-1 away on April 15. The Soweto giants have picked up 19 points from the last 21 up for grabs.

The Buccaneers have claimed 26 points from 13 home matches this season, and their last three games as hosts have brought wins over Maritzburg United, Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic.

Wits have gone three league matches without a win after they were held 1-1 at home by Polokwane City on April 22. Vincent Pule’s last-gasp equaliser at least spared them the ignominy of a third straight league defeat.

The Clever Boys have claimed 17 points from 13 away matches this season, though their last two games on the road have brought defeats at the hands of Ajax Cape Town and Mamelodi Sundowns earlier this month.

In head-to-head stats, Wits and Pirates have met in 64 league matches since 1985. The Buccaneers have claimed 25 wins to the Clever Boys’ 18, while 21 matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has claimed 14 wins and suffered seven defeats from 31 turns as hosts in this rivalry.

When the teams met earlier this season, in Johannesburg in September 2017, Wits claimed a 1-0 home win. The Clever Boys have won their last six successive league matches against the Buccaneers.

Pirates’ line-up from their 2-1 win over AmaZulu on April 15: Mpontshane, Thopola, Jele, Shitolo, Maela, Mlambo, Nyatama, Lorch (Mulenga 46’), Makola (Qalinge 61’), Memela (Munetsi 83’), Shonga.

Wits’ line-up from their 1-1 draw with Polokwane on April 22: Peters, Frosler, Khumalo (Scott 46’), Mkhwanazi, Hlanti, Pelembe (Monare 46’), Gyimah, Claasen (Klate 66’), Pule, Keene, Majoro.

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