Pirates v Chiefs Preview

ABSA Premiership | Saturday 15 March | FNB Stadium | 15:30




Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday with more than bragging rights at stake.

A win for Pirates will keep their slim title hopes alive while a win for the champions will all but dash those dreams.

This will be the fourth Soweto derby this season after meeting in a two-legged MTN8 semi-final as well as the first round league meeting.

Pirates won one of the cup matches with the other two encounters ending in 1-1 draws. At the time of writing both sides had league matches to contest on Wednesday.

To Win (90mins)
Pirates 17/10 
Draw 2/1
Chiefs 17/10

PIRATES

Pirates took on University of Pretoria in Nelspruit last weekend after back-to-back league wins but were humbled with a shock 1-0 loss.

The Sea Robbers enjoyed the better of the exchanges at the Mbombela Stadium, but failed to find the spark they needed in front of goal, with striker Kermit Erasmus guilty of missing several good chances.

The result left Pirates in fifth position, 13 points off table-topping Kaizer Chiefs, who have played one game more than their Soweto rivals.

It was the final game in charge for caretaker manager Eric Tinkler, following the confirmation last Friday that newly-appointed head coach Vladimir Vermezovic has received his work permit.

With VV on the bench on Saturday the players will be out to impress their new coach in such a crucial clash.

It’s been seen in football on countless occasions that the first one or two matches of a coach’s reign bring about a turn in form for the positive.

Bucs will be hoping this will be true for them. Vermezovic is not just any coach. He will be up against the team he coached for two-and-a-half seasons, before his sacking just under two years ago.

He has an intimate knowledge of Chiefs’ players, including derby BMT (Big Match Temperament) specialists like Siphiwe Tshabalala and Knowledge Musona.

Not too much should be read into Pirates’ defeat to Tuks last Saturday. Often both Soweto giants lose focus ahead of the derby and form plays little role on the day.

Of course, though, the biggest motivation for Pirates is that this match is a “six-pointer” in the title race, and they are the chasing team.

CHIEFS

Knowledge Musona netted a hat-trick on Saturday in Maputo as Chiefs beat Mozambican outfit Liga Muculmana in the second leg of their CAF Champions League fixture.

The 3-0 victory saw them advance to the next stage via a 7-0 aggregate score and keeps their campaign for a treble of Champions League, Premiership and Nedbank Cup titles alive.

The win for Chiefs sets them up for a clash in the final round before the lucrative group stages of the competition against Democratic Republic of Congo’s AS Vita.

On the domestic front, star striker Musona has netted six goals in the PSL as Chiefs surge forward to successfully defend the ABSA Premiership title.

He is notorious to Pirates fans having scored a few times in the previous Soweto derbies and will no doubt be hungry to get on the scoresheet.

Chiefs sit top of the table six points clear of Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits with Downs having played a game more.

AmaKhosi will be missing their captain Itumeleng Khune, who was ruled out for four weeks through injury and is only likely to return to the starting line-up next weekend.

Nonetheless, Chiefs have Reyaad Pieterse, who has been outstanding between the sticks in the three games that he played so far.

The 22-year-old Pieterse has been earmarked as Khune's successor, and all eyes will be on him in his biggest test thus far.

Chiefs have been superb of late and are unbeaten in their last 11 league matches winning 10 of those matches.

The match will be played at the FNB Stadium in Soweto where Chiefs play their home matches in the league and are unbeaten there in 10 games in the PSL this season.

Betting PredictionDRAW 2/1
In head-to-head stats, Chiefs and Pirates have met in 55 league matches since 1985. Amakhosi boast 22 wins compared to 12 for the Buccaneers, while 21 matches have been drawn. The draw has been the most common result of late with 10 in the last 16 matches ending that way and each team winning thrice. Going even more recent they have met five times in the past two seasons with four of those games ending in draws. Pirates and Chiefs have the best defensive records in the league having conceded 14 and 12 goals respectively. The draw is tipped to haunt the Soweto Derby once more.

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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