23 August, 2022
Orlando Pirates return from their travels this week ahead of a DStv Premiership encounter against Marumo Gallants at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night.
It’s the last round of fixtures before league action goes on a brief halt, with focus shifting to cup football in the coming weekend.
The Buccaneers are emerging from what has been a bit of a fruitful week on the road, having missed out on just two of the six points on offer in their last two outings, courtesy of a victory and a hard-fought draw, both coming away from home.
Kicking off the week well inside the top half of the standings, they have a chance to climb even higher than their current third place, with top spot up for grabs depending on the other midweek results.
Pirates have experienced the full house of possible outcomes in their opening five outings, winning two and drawing as many games, with a shock home defeat to Chippa remaining the one major blip to their record.
They are up against a side that has only known one result since the start of the new campaign, having taken to the field four times so far.
In their quartet of fixtures, Gallants have registered a draw in each, the last of which was a two-all draw away to Royal AM, against whom they appeared on track for a victory until an equaliser in the dying moments.
This has placed them on the lower end of the league standings, and they will be looking to condemn the Buccaneers to their second home defeat in a row when the two sides lock horns on Wednesday.
Both sides are equal in terms of goals scored this season, with each finding the net three times while the Buccaneers have conceded twice, with Gallants letting in just one more goal.
Pirates and Gallants each had a player hobbling off over the weekend, with Bucs wing-back Thabiso Monyane replaced by Bandile Shandu early in the second half against SuperSport United after picking up a knock, while Gallants’ Lebohang Mabotja was withdrawn late in their encounter with Royal AM.
This means that there could be changes in both camps, with the players set to be assessed before Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers look likely to continue without new signing Evidence Makgopa, who is still recovering from injury.
The visitors are in a similar position with veteran midfielder Thabo Mnyamane unlikely to make an appearance, having been out of action since April.
Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates): After missing out on most of the action last season through injury, Pule has lost none of his influence around the park, and will be determined to get off the mark in the current campaign. The 30-year-old’s ability to create something from nothing has led to some magical moments for the Buccaneers over the years, and it appears to be only a matter of time before he makes an impact on the scoresheet.
Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo (Marumo Gallants): The midfielder established himself as a talismanic presence in the Gallants squad in his first season in the top flight, where he finished as the Club’s top scorer. Also capable of operating in the centre of the park, Ndlondlo has proven to be a potent goal threat when deployed in a more advanced position, as he showed over the weekend when he opened the scoring against Royal AM.
Pirates claimed a handy four points in their two league games against Gallants last season, with a quick brace from Kwame Peprah sealing a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Orlando Stadium before the two sides played to a goalless draw in Polokwane.
These remain their only league encounters in history, with their other clash coming in the Nedbank Cup where it finished 1-1 after extra time ahead of the Limpopo-based outfit clinching a sudden death victory in the subsequent penalty shootout.
How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Marumo Gallants
The game is scheduled to kick off at 19:30, and will be televised live on SuperSport PSL (Channel 202). Tickets to attend the fixture are available for purchase across all Computicket outlets.
You can also follow the action by keeping an eye on live updates that will be provided on Orlando Pirates social media platforms.
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