Can mis­fir­ing Bucs bounce back?

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

Af­ter drop­ping two valu­able points against Su­per­Sport United, Or­lando Pi­rates can ill af­ford to lose more points if they are to take the race con­test to the wire.

Pi­rates will be hop­ing to bounce back against an in­con­sis­tent AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Sta­dium in Umlazi this af­ter­noon.

Against United, Pi­rates lacked fire­power up­front – some­thing that coach Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vić would not have been happy about.

It was the first time they dropped points af­ter a streak of five wins. The Buc­ca­neers were mis­fir­ing and had to set­tle for a point af­ter a goal­less draw.

They can­not af­ford that lack­lus­tre per­for­mance again in their pur­suit of the league ti­tle, which is now for log lead­ers Mamelodi Sun­downs to lose.

Start­ing from to­day, fail­ure to gain max­i­mum points will ef­fec­tively give the ti­tle to the Brazil­ians.

Pi­rates are ca­pa­ble of putting on a good show and mak­ing the ti­tle con­test in­ter­est­ing. The likes of Justin Shonga, Lu­vuyo Memela and Them­binkosi Lorch will have to be de­ci­sive in front of goals and take their chances.

But it won’t be smooth sail­ing for Pi­rates as AmaZulu are not yet guar­an­teed their safety. Plat­inum Stars, who are at the bot­tom of the log, could still catch them.

Cavin John­son’s play­ers know that a vic­tory this af­ter­noon will se­cure Absa Premier­ship sta­tus for an­other sea­son.

John­son will rely on vet­er­ans Siyabonga Nomvethe and Mab­huti Khenyeza to do the dam­age for him.

Mean­while in Jo­han­nes­burg, Plat­inum Stars will fancy their chances against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Sta­dium.

With a lot of un­cer­tainty at Chiefs,

Stars, who need max­i­mum points, could ex­ploit the sit­u­a­tion and use it to their ad­van­tage.

Stars are fight­ing for their lives and need to win their re­main­ing four games to stand a chance of sur­viv­ing the chop. They reg­is­tered their first vic­tory of the year against a strug­gling Polok­wane City last week­end.

Coach Roger De Sá would be hop­ing that the win was their turn­ing point and will want to build on it.

How­ever, they face a wounded Chiefs, who need to re­deem them­selves fol­low­ing their heav­i­est de­feat of the sea­son last week­end.

Af­ter go­ing down 3-0 to Chippa United at home last week­end, coach Steve Kom­phela was too crit­i­cal of his play­ers. Kom­phela is look­ing for a re­ac­tion and a change of at­ti­tude from his play­ers, who have also vowed to bounce back.

Although out of ti­tle con­tention, Chiefs still have a lot to play for – they want to par­tic­i­pate in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions, and must fin­ish second or third on the log to do so.

They also have the pride of Amakhosi to play for.

PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IM­AGES PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

THREAT Mab­huti Khenyeza will be a threat to Pi­rates this af­ter­noon FORCE­FUL Justin Shonga needs to be de­ci­sive in front of goals

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