No time to bask in glory.
The year 2020 ended on a high note for Orlando Pirates, as they lifted the MTN8 trophy beating Bloemfontein Celtic in the final.
As such, they are one of only two top-flight sides (Mamelodi Sundowns, the other) that got to lift silverware in the unforgettable pandemic year.
But at a club the size of Pirates, there is little time afforded to bask in glory. 2021 is a new year that brings new expectations, and certainly more challenges. If anything, winning the MTN8 trophy increases expectations even more.
The post-Cup life has not been straightforward for Pirates – the highs of Caf victories and Soweto Derby wins have come in the midst of humbling defeats to Black Leopards and more recently Golden Arrows. It’s been a yoyo season, encapsulated by this:
1 – Pirates have won successive league games only once this season.
Their latest setback against Arrows followed the high of a Soweto Derby victory, but they can take comfort in knowing that the last time they lost two league games in a row was back in August 2018. That said, their opponents are building some momentum.
CT City also inconsistent
5 – CT City are unbeaten in the last four matches in all competitions, and can equal their best unbeaten run under Jan Olde Riekerink should they remain unbeaten tonight (5 games).
The fact that five games unbeaten is a record for City’s boss also tells a story of its own. This could be billed as the clash of inconsistent sides, although they will both want to start thinking in more optimistic terms.
‘The Citizens’ have won more Cups than Pirates since they arrived in the top-flight in 2016/17, but even they can not bask in that glory for too long.
For the investments made in the squad and the club, CT City should be punching higher for top honours. The 4-0 Cup win over Celtic was another attacking masterclass, but it is matches like the one against Pirates that are the yardstick to measure real progress.
7 – CT City are the league’s top scorers, and one of only three sides to have scored in every away game they have played this season (also Swallows & Supersport).
But, greatness can only be bestowed when silverware follows quicksilver movement.
Man of the Moment
Thabo Nodada signed a new contract with the club this past week, one that will keep the 25 year old vice-captain at the club at least until 2024. Nodada was on target in this same fixture last season, opening the scores in a 3-3 thriller at Orlando Stadium, and recent results support the view that Ralani and his men actually enjoy this fixture.
11% – Pirates have won just one league match against Cape Town City (D6 L2), their lowest win rate against any opponent since City came into the top-flight in 2016 (minimum two games played).
While City are the league’s top scorers, they are also the second leakiest defence, so there could be goals on both ends today.
6 – City and Pirates have drawn 6 matches since the former became a top-flight side. Only one other fixture (Pirates v Baroka) has ended in more draws (7).
Celtic v Supersport
Celtic host Supersport in the early afternoon kickoff. Siwelele have lost just one of the last 15 league games they have played at home since the start of last year (Won 8 Drew 6).
They have also not lost at home to Supersport since losing 2-1 to them in May 2012, when Lennox Bacela scored for Celtic, and Kermit Erasmus & Sibusiso scored for Supersport. That said this is one fixture that gets drawn very often:
22 – Only the Soweto derby (24) has ended in a draw on more occasions than Celttic v Supersport in the PSL era (22).
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By Opta Jabu