PSL 2019-20: Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs
Venue: FNB Stadium, Johannesburg (SA)
Date: Saturday, 29 February 2020
It is time this coming weekend for the 169th Soweto Derby between the Orlando Pirates and the Kaizer Chiefs. There is a little more spice than usual on the game this time around as the Chiefs top the standings on 45 points and the Pirates sit in third place (having played a game more) with 39 points. The Mamelodi Sundowns are sandwiched between the two rival clubs with 41 points.
The Kaizer Chiefs will be looking to rebound after a surprise defeat in their last league outing against Maritzburg United 2-1. It was their only defeat in their last five league games, a run that has included convincing wins over Highlands Park and Cape Town City, a narrow win over Golden Arrows, and a draw with Black Leopards.
The Orlando Pirates are rolling at this point in the season and they have won five league matches in a row heading into this one. That has been an important run of the results for the Pirates given their less than stellar start to the campaign and they have made up some much-needed ground on the log. Four of their league wins during this run have been by the odd goal – Black Leopards (1-0), Chippa United (2-1), AmaZulu (1-0) and Mamelodi Sundowns (1-0) – with the lone exception being their 3-1 win over Highlands Park.
The Pirates are working on treating this big derby clash as just another game as they try to win more points to keep closing in on the Chiefs at the top of the table. A win here would be their seventh on a row – a new team record – with the arrival of head coach Josef Zinnbauer being credited for the turnaround.
Gabadinho Mhango will hope that his form this season continues on Saturday in front of goal. He has scored 14 goals in 19 games this season to lead the face for the golden boot and his ability to put the ball in the net will likely be the difference if the Pirates are to continue their remarkable turnaround with a win over the Chiefs here.
There a debate brewing about who should be the starting goalkeeper for the Amakhosi in this match. Their No. 1 choice stopper all year has been Daniel Akpeyi, but the keeper committed a big error as the Chiefs went down to Maritzburg United in their last match. This has lead to many asking for Itumeleng Khune to find his way back into the starting lineup, especially with this being in the high-pressure atmosphere of the Soweto Derby.
Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has still yet to lose a game against the Pirates in his two spells with the Chiefs. He has won three and drawn four of the seven games he has coached against the rival side. Leonardo Castro will be a player to watch if he gets a run as he has scored six goals in nine games against the side.
The Pirates are red hot and that makes their price of 1.66 with BetXChange look very tempting indeed. Their defense has been almost impenetrable during their winning run – they have conceded just three times in six games – and it is that ability to keep the ball out of the net – plus the fact that the Chiefs have bee a little shaky in attack as of late – that makes the Pirates the pick to win here.