28 October, 2022
The Soweto Derby returns this weekend for another instalment as Orlando Pirates host Kaizer Chiefs in a DStv Premiership clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
In South African football circles, it gets no more significant than this iconic rivalry which takes place less than a month before domestic football goes on a break brought on by the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
For the first time in over two years, the two fierce rivals will be battling it out in front of a potential full house in what is set to be an electrifying atmosphere in Soweto.
This edition of the Derby comes at a time when there is very little to choose between the two sides, currently separated by a single point in the league standings just before the halfway mark of the season.
It is the Buccaneers who are slightly ahead in the log, having collected 19 points in their 12 games through five wins and four draws, while falling on the losing side just three times to take up fourth place.
They go into the clash on the back of two morale-boosting victories in different competitions, overcoming Golden Arrows in the league before sending Mamelodi Sundowns crashing out of the MTN 8 last Saturday.
In doing so, Pirates have netted five unanswered goals, signalling an end to goal-scoring woes that had plagued them during the earlier part of the campaign.
Form has however rarely mattered when it comes to the two sides locking horns, and the Buccaneers will be more than wary of the potential threat posed by an Amakhosi side reeling from falling out of contention for silverware this past weekend.
Chiefs may have avoided a straight defeat by playing to a goalless draw against AmaZulu in their most recent outing, but found themselves eliminated from the MTN 8 through the away-goal rule after conceding in their first-leg stalemate.
The result was their second straight draw in a three-game winless run across competitions, and they find themselves sitting fifth in the league standings with 18 points earned in 12 fixtures.
There are a few doubts over key personnel in both camps heading into the fixture.
Chiefs will likely be missing their leading goal-scorer Caleb Bimenyimana along with veteran goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who hasn’t featured since an away win over Stellenbosch earlier in the month.
Pirates are without injury concerns of their own, with Thembinkosi Lorch and Vincent Pule nursing long-term knocks, while goalkeeper Richard Ofori has made significant strides since being stretchered off in a mid-month league game against AmaZulu.
Midfielder Miguel Timm is however unavailable for selection after picking up a one-game suspension brought about by an accumulation of yellow cards over the course of the ongoing season.
Monnapule Saleng (Orlando Pirates): After scoring back-to-back braces in his last two outings, Saleng has been quite the revelation on attack for the Buccaneers this season. The 24-year-old’s trickery and composure in front of goal have made him an indispensable component in the Bucs’ attacking structure, and the player could be a decisive factor against Amakhosi.
Keagan Dolly (Kaizer Chiefs): With Bimenyimana’s anticipated absence, a great chunk of responsibility on attack for the visitors will be shouldered by the experienced Dolly. The attacking midfielder has already found the net four times this season, proving deadly in open play as well as set-pieces.
Each team has enjoyed a period of dominance over the other in recent years, and Chiefs are the team currently enjoying bragging rights in the Soweto Derby.
This is after winning the last three league fixtures between the two sides, turning things around after going winless against their rivals for over two years.
During their period of dominance, Pirates avoided defeat on nine consecutive occasions in league games played between 2017 and 2019, and were especially dominant during the 2020/21 campaign when they won three of the four Soweto Derbies that season.
In the 20 derbies played across competitions in the past eight years, things are pretty much even, with each side enjoying seven wins while the remaining six games have ended in a stalemate.
How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs
The game kicks off at 15:30 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL and SABC Sport.
Live updates will also be provided across Orlando Pirates' social media platforms.
Tickets for the game have been sold out.
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