Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are set to renew their rivalry when the teams square off in the latest edition of the Soweto derby on Saturday.
The biggest match on the South African soccer calendar will once again feature when Amakhosi welcome Pirates to the FNB Stadium in the Absa Premiership.
The two sides will meet for the second time in the space of a week, after Amakhosi claimed bragging rights when they beat Pirates in the Telkom Knockout Cup quarter-finals in Durban last weekend.
The Buccaneers will have another chance to redeem themselves and turn their form around, while Amakhosi will have to opportunity to stretch their lead at the top of the league standings even further.
Ernst Middendorp’s side will come into this encounter on a five-game winning run in the league, after their 2-0 victory over Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Glamour Boys current sit at the summit of the league standings with 25 points after 10 games played, and a seven-point lead over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns.
Speaking ahead of their much-anticipated Soweto derby, Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp said: ‘I want to repeat and emphasise that I don’t look at the log that much. I’m not really interested in the log positions. We focus on the game and try to find the right balance always. Other teams have games in hand and you’ll never know what will happen. I’m glad we are collecting points at this stage.
‘The games before and after the Soweto derby are tricky. This one is more complicated and needed some juggling. Playing a derby two weekends in a row and having a midweek game were always a challenge. A huge compliment goes to the players. They are really coming to the party and adapting well to the situation.’
The Buccaneers will be hoping to return to winning ways after playing to a goalless draw with Maritzburg United at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
The Sea Robbers currently occupy seventh place in the league standings with 13 points after 10 matches played, trailing log leaders Chiefs by 12 points after the same number of games.
Ahead of this mouthwatering fixture coach Rhulani Mokwena said: ‘They’ve got a very good formation going. They’ve got a very good environment going for them. They can change players and still maintain consistency.
‘They’ve got an environment where they can throw in youngsters such as [Njabulo] Blom, [Siphosakhe] Ntiya-Ntiya, [Siphesihle] Ngcobo and still maintain consistency. So, in the bigger scheme of things, it’s one of the matches we have to play. We know that we are going for 19 more games.’
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