Nedbank Cup Preview: Chippa United

Orlando Pirates’ coastal voyage continues with a stop at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium where they square up with Chippa United in the first Nedbank Cup semifinal on Saturday.

A gruelling week away from home concludes with a significant chapter in the Soweto Giants’ title defence as they look to take another step towards their 10th title by seeing off a side looking to book their first cup final since 2021.

Form Guide

Pirates carry crucial momentum to their trip to their Eastern Cape, having won back-to-back games away from home within a span of three days.

They defeated Royal AM 4-0 in a DStv Premiership clash in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday before registering a 2-0 win away to Cape Town City. This has stretched their winning run across competitions to five games, a streak that began in early April with a convincing 7-1 league win at home Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Another impressive display on the road followed that commanding performance as they booked a 4-2 victory in their Nedbank Cup clash against AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium, marching on in their title defence after breezing past Crystal Lake and Hungry Lions in the earlier rounds.

Their opponents have charted a more dramatic journey to this stage of the competition, having also locked horns with teams from the lower leagues in the opening two rounds before facing off against top-flight opposition for the first time in the quarterfinals.

Chippa scraped past ABC Motsepe League outfit NC Professionals in the Round of 32 before they were drawn at home to another third-tier side in FC Ravens, who they defeated 2-1 in extra time.

They booked their spot in the semis with a 2-0 win away to DStv Premiership rivals TS Galaxy, making it three wins in a row across competitions before adding a fourth with a similar scoreline in a league game against SuperSport United in Atteridgeville.

However, that victory over Matsatsansa has turned out to be the last thus far, as they go into the semifinal on the back of consecutive defeats in games against AmaZulu and Moroka Swallows.

Team News

After resting some of their first-team regulars in midweek, the Chilli Boys are expected to field a changed team on Saturday. Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was among the subs against Swallows and could be back in the starting XI, along with defenders Justice Chabalala and Sirgio Kammies who both return from suspension.

They will however be without Sirgio Kammies, who is ruled out of the clash after picking up a red card in the match against AmaZulu.

For the Buccaneers, theoptions at coach Jose Riveiro’s disposal have been bolstered by the return of midfield pair Makhehleni Makhaula and Patrick Maswanganyi. Both players are again eligible for selection after missing the midweek clash against City through suspension after picking up yellow cards against Royal AM.

Fullback Thabiso Lebitso is meanwhile ruled out of the match against his former team as he continues his recovery from an injury picked up on Sunday.

Key Players

Relebohile Mofokeng (Orlando Pirates): The ever-improving Mofokeng continues to impress in what is his first full season with the senior team. The 19-year-old playmaker is fresh off another confident display where he chipped in with two assists to take his tally to 10 goal contributions in the current campaign.

Stanley Nwabali (Chippa United): The shot-stopper has been a standout player for the Chilli Boys, and currently sits on 11 clean sheets in all competitions this season. Nwabali is a commanding figure between the sticks, providing leadership at the back while possessing great anticipation and excellent reflexes.

Head-to-Head

Spoils were shared on Pirates’ last visit to Gqeberha when a second-half strike from Goodman Mosele cancelled out Bandile Shandu’s 24th-minute opener in a league fixture played in August last year.

Saturday’s encounter will be the first cup clash between the two sides since October 2018 when the Buccaneers claimed a narrow victory with Vincent Pule netting the only goal of the match to send his side to the League Cup quarterfinals.

Since then, all fixtures between the two sides have been league matches and the Soweto Giants have dominated with six wins and just one defeat, while only two games have failed to produce a winner.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Chippa United

The game gets underway at 15:00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL. You can stay in touch with the action as it happens by following live updates posted across Orlando Pirates’ social media platforms, including the Club’s official mobile app.

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