DStvPrem Preview: Richards Bay

Orlando Pirates are at home once more in the DStv Premiership as they prepare for Saturday night’s clash against Richards Bay at Orlando Stadium.

A busy month continues for the Soweto Giants, who take to the field for the fourth time inside a fortnight in what is their second home game within a span of four days.

Form Guide

It’s a battle between two teams on opposite ends of the log, both equally determined to walk off with maximum points on Saturday.

The Natal Rich Boyz are currently in a desperate bid to fight off the threat of relegation as they find themselves in 15th place with three games left to play.

Their run of results over the past five outings has been their best yet this season, yielding half of the six wins they have collected throughout the campaign. The KwaZulu-Natal outfit has claimed 10 points during this period after playing to a goalless draw away to Polokwane City in midweek.

With the season winding down, they aim to secure all nine points from the remaining fixtures to improve their chances of avoiding the daunting relegation playoffs.

Three of these will have to come away from home against an in-form Pirates side that has swept aside all comers over the past month.

Jose Riveiro’s side is currently on a seven-match winning streak that includes victories in each of their last five league outings. They marked their return to Orlando Stadium with a 2-0 win over Chippa United in midweek, earning a vital three points to close the gap on second-placed Stellenbosch.

A second successive home triumph has the potential to help leapfrog the men from the Winelands, placing the Buccaneers in pole position for the last available spot for CAF Champions League qualification.

Team News

Having opted for continuity over the past few weeks, Pirates have been forced into a change in midfield with Thalente Mbatha unavailable for the match against Richards Bay. The 24-year-old was cautioned in midweek, earning himself a one-match suspension having picked up three other bookings during the ongoing campaign.

Also ruled out of the clash is the injured Thabiso Lebitso, while Deon Hotto could also remain sidelined after picking up a knock over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Richards Bay have received a significant boost in the form of attacking midfielder Sanele Barns, who is expected to slot back into the match day squad following his one-match ban.

Key Players

Tshegofatso Mabasa (Orlando Pirates): Fresh off a second consecutive league brace, Mabasa has made a significant impact for the Buccaneers up front. The 27-year-old has contributed 12 goals in just 14 appearances for the club since his return from loan and has taken pole position in a thrilling race for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot.

Salim Magoola (Richards Bay): The shot stopper has provided stability in the visitors’ defence, having rediscovered the form that made him one of the breakout stars in his first season in the South African top flight. With three clean sheets in the last five games, the Ugandan international has been a key aspect of Richards Bay’s recent resurgence.

Head-to-Head

There have only been three league meetings between the two sides, the most recent being the reverse fixture at King Zwelithini Stadium. Neither side could find the net on that occasion, resulting in a share of the spoils.

Only one of the three previous matches has produced a winner, and it was during the latter half of the 2022/23 season when Pirates won 2-0 on the road through goals from Terrence Dzvukamanja and Monnapule Saleng.

Richards Bay’s only triumph against the Soweto Giants came in a Carling Knockout quarterfinal encounter earlier this season when they won via a penalty shootout, following a goalless 120 minutes of football.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Richards Bay

The game is scheduled to kick off at 20:00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL. Live updates will also be provided across Orlando Pirates social media platforms throughout the duration of the game.

Tickets to attend the match are available online at TicketPro as well as selected outlets nationwide.

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