MTN 8 Preview: Royal AM

Orlando Pirates are set for their first cup fixture of the season as they travel to Chatsworth Stadium for their MTN 8 quarter-final game against Royal AM on Saturday evening.

League football pauses momentarily, with the Buccaneers top of the pile in the DStv Premiership standings. They now face a different proposition in their first taste of knockout football in the current campaign.

Having exited early in the previous instalment of the tournament, the 2020 champions will be looking to reclaim the coveted piece of silverware, which they have hoisted aloft ten times since the advent of Top Eight competition in South African football.

Form Guide 

They head into the do-or-die fixture having claimed a vital home win in midweek, beating Marumo Gallants 1-0 at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates remain unbeaten away from home, where they have claimed five out of the available nine points, with three out of their tally coming against their next opponents.

In total, they have won three out of their six league fixtures, drawing twice and losing once.

They will need to overcome a side that also registered a win in midweek, edging KwaZulu-Natal rivals 1-0 in Chatsworth on Wednesday night.

Royal AM have won an equal number of league games to the Soweto Giants, losing twice and earning one stalemate.

Their win on Wednesday broke a spell of three games without victory, which began right after they had begun their campaign with two straight wins.

Team News

Changes are to be expected in Pirates’ line-up, as rotation has been the order of the day since the start of what has been a busy fixture list since the season began.

This has left the Bucs medical team with several players to assess following a couple of physical battles over the past week, where the likes of Thabiso Monyane, Thembinkosi Lorch and Kabelo Dlamini have emerged as fresh injury concerns. Meanwhile, midfielder Thabang Monare nears a return to action after being sidelined after a brief spell on the sidelines.

Royal AM on the other hand look set to continue without the injured Samir Nurkovic, while Levy Mashiane and Ndumiso Mabena are also among players still yet to feature for the KZN outfit this season.

Key Players 

Goodman Mosele (Orlando Pirates): Equally adept in winning possession in the midfield and linking up with the forwards, Mosele continues to be a crucial part of the Bucs’ puzzle and heads into Saturday’s game on the back of yet another solid showing. The 22-year-old has shown maturity beyond his years since joining the Club ahead of last season, with his football brain proving crucial to the Bucs’ cause.

Ricardo Nascimento (Royal AM): The home side boasts some experience at the back in the form of the Brazilian defender, who will know a thing or two about knockout football. Along with his defensive prowess, Nascimento also possesses an uncanny ability to get his name on the scoresheet, whether he does so from the penalty spot or open play.

Head-to-Head 

It will be the first-ever cup meeting between the two sides, who have only met three times in their history, with all their previous encounters all occurring in the league.

Pirates will go into Saturday’s fixture with fresh memories of a favourable result against Royal AM, having claimed a handy away win just a little over a week ago.

Overall, the Buccaneers have won one and drawn one in their previous two visits to Thwihli Thwahla, with their only home game also ending in a stalemate.

A total of seven goals have been scored, with the Soweto Giants accounting for four so far in the brief history between these two sides.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Royal AM

Kick-off is at 18:00 and the game will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL. You can also follow the action by keeping an eye on live updates that will be provided across Orlando Pirates social media platforms.

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