Football

DSTV PREMIERSHIP PREVIEW: POLOKWANE CITY

Orlando Pirates resume their DStv Premiership campaign with a trip to Peter Mokaba Stadium, where they lock horns with Polokwane City on Saturday afternoon.

Well into the second half of the 2023/24 season, the Buccaneers are looking to bag maximum points against Rise and Shine, who have provided a stiff challenge for many big names on their return to the top flight.

Form Guide 

The fixture comes right after a short break from league action, where the two sides experienced contrasting results in their respective Nedbank Cup outings played last Saturday.

Pirates travelled to Mbombela Stadium, where they netted six unanswered goals against SAB Regional League outfit Crystal Lake to book their spot in the Round of 16. 

The emphatic win could be a timely boost in confidence for Jose Riveiro’s men, whose league form has seen them drop to fifth place after going winless in their last three games.

The Buccaneers have collected a disappointing seven points in their last five fixtures, winning twice before suffering back-to-back defeats, which were followed by a 1-1 draw away to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Their next opponents have meanwhile managed a similar return under the points column over a five-match period, with their seven points coming via two wins and a draw in their last three outings. This has taken them up to ninth in the standings, level on points with two other teams.

City were however on the losing side in the Nedbank Cup, falling to a 3-2 defeat on the road against Richards Bay. 

With their focus now firmly on league football for the remainder of the season, they make for a tricky proposition for all comers, starting with the Buccaneers on Saturday.

Team News 

The highly-rated Oswin Appollis is a notable boost for the hosts as he returns from suspension after sitting out the game against the Natal Rich Boys, following an accumulation of yellow cards.

Pirates will, on the other hand, be forced to continue without midfielder Miguel Timm, who completes his two-match ban this weekend.

Riveiro does have many options to call upon, following impressive displays from Makhehleni Makhaula and Thalente Mbatha in the middle of the park, while the experienced Thabang Monare could also add more minutes to his tally, having made a cameo appearance against Crystal Lake last weekend.

Key Players

Tapelo Xoki (Orlando Pirates): The Bucs centre-back is enjoying a stellar campaign in his second season at the Club, where he has emerged as one of the leaders in the team. A calm, imposing presence on defence, Xoki has also chipped in with some vital goals and is fresh off a cup brace that took his tally to five in all competitions this season.

Oswin Appollis (Polokwane City): The speedy attacker has been Rise and Shine’s star turn in the ongoing campaign, churning out a number of impressive performances for the newly-promoted outfit. The 22-year-old has seamlessly slotted into various positions up front, contributing with five goals and three assists across competitions.

Head-to-Head

This will be the Soweto Giants’ first visit to Polokwane City since January 2021 when they walked off 4-1 victors, clinching their second consecutive away win over the Limpopo outfit.

The two sides have met once since City’s return to the top flight, playing to a 1-1 draw in the fixture played at Orlando Stadium earlier in the season.

The hosts will head into Saturday’s game in search of a rare victory over the Buccaneers, having last managed to pick up three points in this fixture a little over a decade ago when they claimed a 1-0 win at home.

In the 13 games played since then, Pirates have emerged winners on six occasions with seven encounters finishing in a stalemate.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Polokwane City 

Kick-off is at 15:30, and the game will be televised live on SuperSport PSL. You can also follow the action by keeping an eye on live updates shared across all Orlando Pirates social media platforms, including the Club’s official mobile app.

SOURCED FROM THE ORLANDO PIRATES WEBSITE.

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