Preview: Independiente del Valle

Orlando Pirates continue their preparations for the upcoming season with a Friendly match against Ecuadorian outfit Independiente del Valle at Marbella Football Centre in Malaga, Spain on Saturday.

Pre-season is in full swing, with the Buccaneers doing a bit of fine–tuning ahead of a highly-anticipated campaign kicking off early next month.

Match Overview

They now square off against the South Americans, who are among a number of top football clubs from across the world who have travelled to Spain in the European summer.

While the Soweto Giants are in pre-season, the Black and Blues – as the Ecuadorians are affectionately known – have completed the first round of their league campaign, finishing top of the standings with 11 out of 15 games won.

Now looking to hit the ground running in the crucial second and third stages of their campaign, the team coached by Martin Anselmi is also in the running for continental glory after making the knockout rounds of the prestigious Copa Libertadores.

For Pirates, the fixture is a chance to continue preparations for a bumper season, where they will be looking to build on the previous campaign’s success, where they claimed both domestic cup competitions on offer and secured a spot in the CAF Champions League through a second-place finish in the league.

It will be the Buccaneers’ second outing in Marbella, having triumphed in their previous fixture, with new signing Patrick Maswanganyi providing the game’s only goal.

They will be looking to make it two wins in as many matches in order to build some winning momentum before embarking on a potentially-testing campaign when they return home.

Team News 

The majority of the Bucs touring party got to run out on the field on Thursday night, with three of the Club’s offseason acquisitions getting some minutes under the belt.

Goalkeeper Melusi Buthelezi sat out while Maswanganyi, Katlego Otladisa and Siphelo Baloni all had a kickabout, and could feature in the remaining pre-season fixtures.

Coach Jose Riveiro could also have a look at Richard Ofori and Olisa Ndah, who both spent the majority of last season sidelined by injury, while midfield duo Vincent Pule and Goodman Mosele could be among those also due a run out on the field.

Meanwhile, Independente fans may be due a close look at midfielder Joao Ortiz, brought on board by the Club earlier in the month, along with winger Matias Fernandez.

They could however be missing the experience of centre-back Richard Schunke, who was sidelined by a knee injury in their most recent competitive fixture.

Players to Watch 

Ex-Argentina youth international Michael Hoyos has been in fine goal-scoring form for the Ecuadorians, netting goals in both domestic and continental competition, and could require some extra attention from the Bucs defence on Saturday.

He is however not the club’s only potent goal-scoring threat, with attacking midfielders Lautaro Diaz and Junior Sornoza all capable of providing some crucial strikes when needed. 

Defensively, the South Americans have given almost equal opportunity to goalkeepers Moises Ramirez and Kleber Pinargote, while Mateo Carabajal and Agustin could provide the perfect foil for the Pirates attack.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Independiente del Valle 

The game kicks off at 18:00 (SAST) and can be streamed live on Orlando Pirates Football Club’s YouTube channel, Pirates TV. You can also follow the action by keeping an eye on live updates posted across the Club’s social media platforms. 

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