Orlando Pirates last won a trophy in 2014. Kaizer Chiefs in 2015. We’re in 2020 now, and the two sides stand in each other’s way in the quest for a first trophy in a long time.
Both teams lost Knockout Cup finals in 2018/19, with Chiefs suffering the ignominy of becoming the first PSL side to lose a major Cup final to non-top flight opposition, TS Galaxy in the Nedbank Cup decider.
Sundowns further rubbed salt into the Kaizer Chiefs wound by snatching the league title away from Amakhosi last season in the final half-hour of the title race, when Chiefs had been in pole position for most of the season. Nearly.
In recent years, the Soweto Derby seemed to have lost some of its spark, corresponding with the trophy droughts. This one could have the extra edge, with victory in the two-legged derby guaranteeing a chance at an elusive trophy. Chiefs have been to three finals and missed out on all of them since they last won a title, while Pirates have also been to four and ended as runners-up in all of them. Bridesmaids.
50 years since the first derby was played in 1970, this will be the 170th competitive Soweto Derby match played between the two sides since 1970.
Where will the goals come from?
The first PSL era meeting between the two sides was a Bob Save semi-final clash in November 1996. Pirates ran out 4-1 winners, with Jerry Sikhosana scoring three goals, and he remains the only player to score a hat-trick in this fixture in the PSL era.
3 – Jerry Sikhosana got three goals in Pirates’ 4-1 win in November 1996, and is the last player to score a hat trick in the Chiefs v Pirates derby.
Even the likes of Collins Mbesuma, Dennis Lota and Pollen Ndlanya could not manage this feat. Samir Nurkovic and Gabadinho Mhango have been the most complete forwards for the two sides in the last few years, but they may both miss out today.
Chiefs top scorer Nurkovic is already a confirmed absentee due to injury, while Orlando Pirates marksman Gabadinho Mhango is a doubt for the clash. Not to say they would have scored a hat-trick. Already, goals have been hard to come by for Chiefs and Pirates in the last few months.
Chiefs struggle for goals
Chiefs have scored more than one goal only twice in their last 18 games since January 2020. The likes of Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat must step up and provide the goals upfront. While Chiefs strength from set-pieces is well known, relying on that can also become a weakness when that is your only way of scoring goals. If we exclude set piece goals, then the last match that Chiefs scored more than one goal that did not come from a set-piece situation was the opening league game against Highlands Park at the start of last season (August 2019). That is a long time.
Pirates also struggle for goals
Bucs have also struggled for goals of late and have scored more than one goal only once in their last 13 games. This will be Josef Zinnbauer’s 22nd competitive game in charge of Pirates. His first eleven games pre-lockdown included a record six-game winning run in the league, and produced an average 1.64 goals a game.
His last 10 games have seen that average drop to 0.8 goals per game. A key part of that early run was Luvuyo Memela who was a constant creative threat, but he has since moved to AmaZulu. And should Mhango miss out today, someone else will need to provide the goal scoring threat. The good news for Pirates, however, is that their defence has at least been solid:
1 – Since Josef Zinnbauer took charge in December last year, no side has managed to score more than one goal in a league game against Pirates (played 19 league games).
The same can’t be said about Chiefs, who have conceded 13 goals since the bio-bubble started in August, more than any other top-flight side.
Second-semi: SuperSport United v Bloemfontein Celtic
Cup Kings SuperSport host Celtic in their first leg clash on Sunday. Siwelele knocked out league champions Sundowns from the Cup, so should not be taken lightly. Indeed, their run to the final in the Nedbank Cup could be a better indication of where they are as a side.
10 – SuperSport have played to 10 draws in all competitions against Celtic (played 12) since the start of the 2015/16 season, more than they have with any other side.
By Opta Jabu