Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
10 Apr 2019
10:22 am

Pirates looking to extend lead at the top

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Bucs will want to remain on top until the end of the season, with five games remaining.

Ben Motshwari of Orlando Pirates (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

While Mamelodi Sundowns are on Caf Champions League duty, Orlando Pirates have a chance to stretch their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership standings as they host Black Leopards at Orlando Stadium tonight.

The Buccaneers’ last-minute victory over Bidvest Wits, courtesy of a Keegan Ritchie own-goal from a Luvuyo Memela set piece on Thursday last week, saw the Soweto club leapfrog Mamelodi Sundowns to move to the top of the Absa Premiership standings.

Sundowns now occupy second place but are level on 44 points with a game in hand.

Midfielder Ben Motshwari says the Wits euphoria is now behind them as they have another tough encounter against Lidoda Duvha and won’t take the club from Limpopo for granted.

“We cannot dwell on that performance because we have to be at our best [tonight]. This is a team that cannot be underestimated,” said the Bucs midfielder.

“Coming into this game the focus is solely on the three points on offer, and nothing else. We don’t have to come into this match and talk about revenge [for their Nedbank Cup loss] or things like that.

“This is a different competition with very different objectives, and that’s the mentality we are carrying into this match.”

READ: Wits played into Pirates’ hands

The Bucs will want to remain on top until the end of the season, with five games remaining.

They will be hoping Downs drop points in league games to increase their chance of clinching the title.

Head coach Micho Sredojevic, says everyone at the club is confident they will do well.

“We must believe, otherwise we don’t deserve to carry this badge.

“All of us at the team believe, but we don’t want to speak about it [the league]. We want to focus on our next game,” said the Bucs mentor.

With Pirates coming into this game with their minds fully focused on extending their lead, Leopards are on a mission of their own, a top-eight finish.

The Limpopo outfit are 12th with 25 points, having only played 23 games so far – and are just six points away from eighth-placed Bloemfontein Celtic.

Dylan Kerr’s charges have been blowing hot and cold this season and head into this game having lost a Limpopo derby 3-2 to Polokwane City last weekend.

In the first round of the league, Bucs edged Leopards 2-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in August last year.

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