For the second time in three months and the 50th time in PSL history, SuperSport and Orlando Pirates will meet in a league encounter this afternoon (17:00).
This is a fixture that has been a staple in our footballing diet for the last quarter century. Indeed, for half a decade between 2007 and 2012, these two were the teams to beat in local football, sharing five titles between them in those years sandwiching the 2010 World Cup.
But since then, the titles have dried up.
It’s been ten seasons without a league title for SuperSport and eight for Pirates, although Pirates can boast two runners-up finishes in 2017/18 and 20018/19.
Cup finals have been the source of hope and appeasement for both sets of fans in the meanwhile, with SuperSport lifting five knockout titles since 2012, more than any other side. As a matter of fact the two sides have appeared in more Cup final appearances than anyone since Pirates’ last title win (17 between them).
Yet, Supersport (P9 W5 L4) have enjoyed a better record in finals than Pirates (P8 W2 L6). As Sundowns increasingly look like a side marching onto a 4th successive title, it’s fixtures like these between the nearest challengers that the defending champions would keep one eye on, hoping points can be dropped by both sides.
50 – This will be the 50th edition of this fixture, making it the joint-most played fixture in PSL history (Chiefs-SuperSport has also been played 50 times). SuperSport have won 17 games, Pirates have won 19, while the other 13 have ended in a draw.
The bookies are split on this one, with no clear favourite, but SuperSport will be confident that their home form can get them over the line. The Pretoria club are already on the longest run without a home defeat in their PSL history, and could set another record today if they avoid defeat.
9 – SuperSport’s longest run without a home defeat from the start of a PSL season is 9 games (2016/17 and 2019/20), and avoiding defeat today would set a new club record (10).
That said, Pirates will look at the historic results (both long term and recent) and see those as enough reasons for optimism. Only against Sundowns (24) have SuperSport lost more league games than they have against Pirates (19). The Buccaneers have also thrived in this fixture of late, particularly since Josef Zinnbauer took charge, winning both games played under the German’s tenure (2-1 wins in August and November last year).
3 – Zinnbauer can become the first Pirates coach in PSL history to win three league games against SuperSport.
But for either side to entertain ideas of winning, there must be goals. Bradley Grobler leads the scorers’ charts in the league (13 goals), while Pirates’ top scorer is only on 3 goals. That alone is not a problem when you consider how the goalscoring burden is shared at Pirates, with 11 different players finding the net in this campaign – no other PSL side has a double digit number for different scorers.
Meanwhile, only Maritzburg United (5) have fewer scorers than SuperSport (6) this season. One team has the highest scorer, the other has the most goalscorers – the goals can come from anywhere.
117 – The Pirates v SuperSport league fixture has seen 117 goals in the PSL era, and is the second highest scoring fixture in PSL history (behind SuperSport v Sundowns, 118).
Besides, Grobler also loves playing in the big games.
8 – Grobler has scored eight goals against Pirates in his PSL career. Only against Chiefs (10) has he scored more.
Bloemfontein Celtic v TS Galaxy
Bloemfontein Celtic have lost just one of their last 17 home matches in the #DSTVPrem (Won 9 Drew 7).
Moreover, Siwelele have lost just one of their last 14 league games at home to sides that were new to the top-flight (W9 D4).
By Opta Jabu