Match Preview: Pirates vs Maritzburg

Visitors Maritzburg United will try make it six wins in a row when they come to Orlando Stadium to take on the Buccaneers in an Absa Premiership encounter this evening.

The Team of Choice comes into this fixture on the back of an impressive run of form while hosts Orlando Pirates are still licking their wounds following their disappointing defeat on penalties to rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout.

When these two sides last met in this competition the hosts were chasing the title while Maritzburg United were trying to fend off relegation. A gap of 30+ points separated the two sides at the time on the standings but fast forward a few months later – seven to be exact; and the dynamic has completely changed.

Pirates are currently sitting in eighth position after nine games played while United – who have a game in hand, are in ninth place; one point behind the Buccaneers.

Furthermore, the visiting team will be buoyed on by their winning performance over Highlands Park in the Telkom Knockout over this past weekend.

Rhulani Mokwena meanwhile, will be looking towards building on the fighting spirit his players displayed at the weekend and try to record a second successive victory in the league for the first time this season following Pirates’ narrow 1-0 victory over Highlands Park last week.

However, it won’t be easy as Eric Tinkler is eyeing a little piece of history of his own. A win for the former Bucs mentor will see United register sixth consecutive victories in all competitions; something the KZN based outfit hasn’t achieved in the PSL era.

Suspension and Injuries

Mokwena and his assistants Fadlu Davids and Franck Plaine; will be without the services of some key players tonight.

Right back Mthokozisi Dube is ruled out following his red card in the game against Amakhosi. The 27-year old was sent off after his second bookable offence after impeding an opponent.

Another casualty from this past weekends’ match is Thembinkosi Lorch who will be serving a one match suspension after an accumulation of yellow cards.

Meanwhile, Linda Mntambo looks set to miss this encounter as he struggles to shake off an injury he sustained in his Man of the Match performance over Highlands Park last week. The enterprising midfielder is due to undergo a late fitness test this morning to determine his readiness.

Key Players

Thabiso Kutumela: The former Bucs forward has been among the goals for Maritzburg United and has been a crucial player in their resurgence. Kutumela has netted three times in the past month and could be a handful for his ex-teammates.

Rushine De Reuck: Standing tall in the Maritzburg defence is De Reuck. The young centre back is one of the main cogs in the club’s back four.  He will be one of the players who will be tasked with keeping an eye on Tshegofatso Mabaso and company.

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