DURBAN – Orlando Pirates will be eager to protect their 14-game unbeaten run in the league when they face Kaizer Chiefs in what should be a mouth-watering Soweto Derby.
Pirates haven’t tasted defeat in the league for five months.
The last time they suffered a reverse was back in August, against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium.
Since then, they have beaten Black Leopards, SuperSport United, Baroka FC, Chiefs, Polokwane City, Free State Stars and Chippa United, while sharing the spoils with Cape Town City, Lamontville Golden Arrows, AmaZulu, Mamelodi Sundowns, Maritzburg United, Highlands Park and Baroka FC.
Amakhosi will be looking to end that unbeaten run when these two sides square off on Saturday.
They haven’t defeated Pirates in a league encounter since 2014. So, beating Pirates will mean gold for Chiefs. They will break their 14-match run and end their own barren spell of five years and 11 games without a victory against their sworn rivals.
Pirates will be hoping to turn their draws into wins against Chiefs. They have been among the kings of draws this season.
The Buccaneers have registered eight stalemates so far. That is 16 points dropped. They have only lost twice in the league this season. They were humbled by the log leaders, Bidvest Wits, and Celtic at the start of the season.
Highlands Park have amassed more stalemates than any other PSL team, with 10 draws. They are followed by Arrows, with nine shared spoils. Pirates, Maritzburg and Baroka are tied at number three with eight draws each.
The Buccaneers will not only be motivated by protecting their unbeaten run, but they will also set their sights on closing the gap between themselves and Wits at the summit.
Wits are five points clear of Pirates. They have collected 37 points in 19 games, while Bucs are on 32 points from 18 matches.
Beating their bitter rivals will give them more confidence that they can clinch the league title come the end of the season.
Pirates came out top in their three derbies last year, and they will be looking to replicate that record. That they won three out of three against Amakhosi last year was remarkable.
Xola Mlambo and Musa Nyatama will be key for Pirates in the middle of the park. They will be expected to pull the strings, while the pace of Thembinkosi Lorch, Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga is likely to cause havoc for the shaky Chiefs defence.
These players will be key in ensuring that Pirates stretch their unbeaten run in the league to 15 games. Such games usually go a long way in determining the title race’s outcome.