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Absa Premiership, Soccer

Pirates eager to get back to winning ways

Orlando Pirates will be out to regain top spot in the Absa Premiership standings when they welcome Platinum Stars to Orlando Stadium in a league clash on Tuesday evening.

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The Buccaneers will be eager to take to the field after they saw their clash against Bidvest Wits – initially scheduled for this past Saturday – postponed due to security concerns related to student protests.

In their absence, Golden Arrows moved top of the log standings following a 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic.

The Buccaneers last week saw their winning streak cut short when they were held to a goalless draw by Cape Town City.

Pirates head coach, Muhsin Ertugral, was far from pleased with his troop’s performance against the newly-formed City and will be hoping for an improved showing against the Phokeng-based club.

“It is a long, long way to go,” said Ertugral. “Some of the players need to understand actually how to play to instructions. So, obviously, I am sorry for the fans that we couldn’t fulfill the expectations against City.

“The entries in the last third, the last decision, the last pass, last cross, the right movement when to move, when to stay… we are working every day on it.

“The team showed that they can play football, but we’ve done so in patches. This is not the type of football I want to introduce, but we will get there,” the Turkish-born mentor concluded.

On the other hand, Dikwena suffered their first defeat of the season last time out. Cavin Johnson’s men going down 1-0 to Baroka FC at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Former SuperSport United head coach, Johnson, revealed that his team was left hurting following the defeat to the National First Division champions and as a result, he expects a response from his team when they take on the Buccaneers.

They took it [the loss to Baroka] very badly, all of them [my players],” Johnson said.

“It’s a good sign for me so I can work on something. We play Pirates on Tuesday night. It’s a very difficult game. We have got to make sure that we recover well.

“We have to try our best to put a better performance against Pirates. At the moment they are playing very well. Their game got postponed at the weekend so they would be a fresher than us. We are going to have to deal with that,” he concluded.

In head-to-head stats, Pirates and Stars have met in 26 league matches since 2003/04.

The Buccaneers have 14 wins compared to two for Dikwena, while 10 matches have been drawn.

Pirates have won six of their 13 home league matches against Stars, suffering just one defeat in the process.

Last season Dikwena took four points off the Buccaneers, drawing 1-1 in Soweto before claiming a 2-1 win in the return game in Rustenburg.

The teams have not played out a goalless draw in any of their last 11 league meetings.

By Matthews Moraba

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