16 February, 2023
Orlando Pirates gear up for a rare Friday night fixture at Orlando Stadium, where they will be hosting Maritzburg United for their next DStv Premiership assignment.
The two sides kick off another exciting weekend of league action following a brief hiatus with cup football taking centre stage over the past week.
The visitors have all their energy focused on surviving in the top flight, having dropped out of the Nedbank Cup in the Round of 32 following their defeat at home to Kaizer Chiefs over the weekend.
It was the third game in a row where they had failed to register a victory - a complete turnaround in fortunes after starting the year with three straight wins.
Now sitting in 15th place on the log, Maritzburg head to Orlando Stadium in search of a win that could take them out of the red zone, but will have to contend with an in-form Pirates side in their own backyard.
The Buccaneers are fresh off a 2-0 win against All Stars, which secured their spot in the next round of the Nedbank Cup.
The victory was their fourth in their last five games across competitions, with the only blemish in their record over this period coming in their last home league fixture.
With a spot in continental competition within reach, a strong finish to the campaign is all the Buccaneers require, and they will be pushing for a vital three points on Friday amid a tricky list of fixtures leading up to the last stretch of their league campaign.
Pirates head into the fixture without a key member of their technical team in Head Coach Jose Riveiro, who will be forced to watch from the stands after being shown red against All Stars.
He will be serving his suspension along with Maritzburg midfielder Travis Graham, who was given his marching orders in the defeat to Chiefs.
There are concerns on the injury front, particularly for the Buccaneers who were forced into an early change in their last fixture after Goodman Mosele was withdrawn in the fifth minute of the encounter. The midfielder is now in a race against time to be fit for the clash on Friday.
Monnapule Saleng (Orlando Pirates): Fresh off another Man of the Match performance, Saleng has taken his goal tally to eight in 15 appearances across competitions in Bucs colours and will again be one of the players to watch come kick-off time. The 24-year-old is not only a goal threat but has also been a provider, particularly in dead-ball situations, where his smart delivery from set pieces has given a new dimension to the Soweto Giants on attack.
Amadou Soukona (Maritzburg United): The former France youth international has been an influential presence in the line-up each time Maritzburg have gotten over the line, and is likely to be the main focal point on attack for his side once more in Soweto. Initially deployed in the midfield at the start of the season, Soukona has been most effective when operating as a centre-forward and currently leads the goal-scoring charts for the Team of Choice.
The Buccaneers will be out to avenge a shock defeat suffered on their visit to Harry Gwala Stadium earlier in the season, when a late penalty netted by Soukona handed the Team of Choice a 1-0 victory.
The defeat was the Soweto Giants’ first loss in six years against the men in blue, ending their 11-game unbeaten streak in this fixture, where they had managed to emerge on the winning side seven times.
Unsurprisingly, Pirates have been by far the more successful side in meetings between these two teams, winning 15 of the last 29 encounters and only losing six times.
How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Maritzburg United
Kick-off is at 19:30, with the game broadcast live on SuperSport PSL. Live updates will also be provided on all of Orlando Pirates’ social media platforms.
Tickets are still available online at TicketPro and selected retail outlets, as well as at the Orlando East Community Hall four hours before kick-off.