Derby No 4 – it’s the de­cider!

Much is at stake in the Ned­bank Cup knock­out match, not least of which are this year’s brag­ging rights

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Win­ning the Ned­bank Cup is Or­lando Pi­rates’ only way back to con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion next year. For Kaizer Chiefs, it is the op­por­tu­nity to sal­vage some­thing this sea­son – af­ter com­ing so close on two oc­ca­sions al­ready.

One thing that’s cer­tain about Satur­day’s Soweto derby is that there will at least be a win­ner, as only one side will ad­vance to the next round of the Ned­bank Cup.

This will be the fourth and fi­nal time both sides meet in the Premier Soc­cer League this sea­son, fol­low­ing two league matches and a Telkom Knock­out (TKO) semi­fi­nal.

Pi­rates beat Chiefs 3-1 in the first round of the Absa Premier­ship be­fore Amakhosi knocked the Buc­ca­neers out on penal­ties in the semi­fi­nals of the TKO.

Their se­cond-round Absa Premier­ship match ended in a 1-1 draw.

So you might say that this match is the derby de­cider.

With the last en­counter end­ing in a stale­mate, sup­port­ers should at least be guar­an­teed a more open game, as both teams will be go­ing for the jugu­lar in hopes of book­ing their places in the last 16 of the tour­na­ment.

De­spite com­men­ta­tors com­plain­ing about too many der­bies in one sea­son, sup­port­ers will be flock­ing to the Cal­abash. They just can’t get enough of the age-old ri­valry.

There are never easy games be­tween the clubs, and Satur­day should be an­other hard-fought en­counter.

With the league ti­tle ei­ther slip­ping from their grasp (Amakhosi) or al­ready long gone (Bucs), Satur­day’s game will present the coaches with the op­por­tu­nity to fin­ish the sea­son with at least one piece of sil­ver­ware.

Chiefs are nine points be­hind pace­set­ters Mamelodi Sun­downs, while Pi­rates are fight­ing for a spot in the top

TUES­DAY, 7.30pm:

Santos vs Mthatha Bucks (Athlone Sta­dium); Mar­itzburg United vs Black Leop­ards (Harry Gwala Sta­dium)

Bid­vest Wits vs Bloem­fontein Celtic (Bid­vest Sta­dium); Steen­berg United vs Plat­inum Stars (Athlone Sta­dium)

FRI­DAY, 8pm:

SATUR­DAY, 3pm:

eight. De­spite reach­ing two cup fi­nals – the MTN8 and the Telkom Knock­out – Steve Kom­phela knows that fin­ish­ing the sea­son with­out any­thing to show for it will be deemed a fail­ure.

The fi­nals he con­tested were a case of so close, and yet so far, and they won’t mean any­thing to the Chiefs faith­ful who are used to win­ning at least one tro­phy a sea­son.

Af­ter mak­ing slow but steady progress at Na­turena in his first sea­son, the pres­sure is now on Kom­phela to de­liver some­thing – any­thing – es­pe­cially af­ter Amakhosi won the MTN8 and Absa Premier­ship cham­pi­onship last sea­son.

As for Eric Tin­kler, af­ter a sea­son to for­get, he will see this as the chance of a life­time to re­deem him­self.

The Ned­bank Cup gives Tin­kler the op­por­tu­nity to end a dif­fi­cult sea­son on a high – it saw him criss-cross­ing the African con­ti­nent to also fail at the fi­nal hur­dle.

Two bar­ren years will cer­tainly not wash with the club’s sup­port­ers and will no doubt put his po­si­tion at Pi­rates on the line.

As for squad selections, Chiefs will have to do with­out one of their key de­fend­ers af­ter Lorenzo Gordinho picked up his fourth yel­low in the game against Polok­wane City. But Kom­phela has enough cen­tre backs at his dis­posal to fill the gap. Daniel Car­doso, who started his first game for Amakhosi against City, as a right back, could be called on to part­ner with Eric Mathoho in the heart of de­fence.

Mor­gan Gould, who has not seen much ac­tion since re­cov­er­ing from an Achilles ten­don in­jury, and Ivan Bukenya are the other good op­tions.

Tin­kler will rely on the likes of Mpho Makola, Thabo Rakhale and cap­tain Thabo Mat­laba to do the dam­age. Nei­ther side will want to risk see­ing the match go to penal­ties. While penalty shoot-outs add drama, they are never very sat­is­fy­ing.

Or­lando Pi­rates vs Kaizer Chiefs (FNB Sta­dium); Golden Ar­rows vs Mil­ford FC (King Zwelithini Sta­dium); EC Bees FC vs Ma­gesi FC (Buf­falo City Sta­dium); Ajax Cape Town vs Free State Stars (Athlone Sta­dium, 6pm); Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria vs Polok­wane City Rovers (Tuks Sta­dium, 8.15pm)

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