The headline game on the PSL weekend coupon is Saturday night's clash in Orlando as Pirates and Moroka Swallows face off in a Soweto Derby.
It's been a busy start to the new season for both these clubs. On the PSL front Pirates have taken four points from their two matches, a come from behind 2-1 home win over Golden Arrows and a 0-0 stalemate away at Supersport. Meanwhile Swallows went down 3-1 at Platinum Stars in their opening league fixture but they bounced back with a late goal blitz to see off Ajax 3-1 at Dobsonville in their subsequent PSL outing.
The MTN8 kept both these sides in overdrive and Pirates will no longer retain that trophy after losing 3-0 over two legs to Supersport. That tie was locked at 0-0 up to the second half of the second leg but after Benni McCarthy had been given his marching orders on the stroke of half time, Pirates succumbed to a second half onslaught conceding three times. Swallows though will contest the MTN8 final against Supersport after they came through their semi final with Sundowns with a 6-5 aggregate win, drawing the away leg 3-3 (2-0 up inside 8 minutes) and winning the return 3-2 (3-0 up inside 20 minutes). The Dube Birds have been the team to watch when it comes to goal action and they must to re-focus on improving their start to the PSL season ahead of the MTN8 final later this month.
Zimbabwean Striker Takesure Chinyama has joined Pirates from Dynamos to provide another option for the Bucs up front. McCarthy will sit this match out through suspension but Pirates also have another recent striker signing in Collins Mbesuma. Pirates went through the whole of the last season unbeaten in the PSL, winning 11 and drawing four of their 15 home fixtures whilst Swallows won seven, drew five and lost three of their road trips.
Both of last season's PSL meetings ended all square with a late Pirates goal forcing a 1-1 in Orlando in the first match and the return at Dobsonville ended 0-0. In between, Pirates did complete a 2-1 win at Swallows in the Telkom Knockout, a trophy they went on to win. In 2010/11, Pirates won both PSL head to heads by a 2-0 scoreline.
The Betting - Match Result
Pirates 9/8 Voltbet
Draw 9/4 Sportingbet
Swallows 3/1 Hollywood
HT Result Draw 11/10 BetXchange, World Sports Betting
Double Chance Draw/Swallows 8/10 World Sports Betting
Under 2.5 goals 8/11 Voltbet, Sportingbet
Over 2.5 goals even money BetXchange, Sportingbet
Both teams to score (no) 9/10 BetXchange
One team to score only 23/20 Sportingbet
Both teams to score (yes) 8/10 BetXchange
Odds are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change. Some bookmakers may not have priced up on all markets at the time of writing.
The MTN8 semi finals were energy sapping and Pirates will be glad to be facing any other side than Supersport after failing to find the net in 270 minutes of football against Gavin Hunt's men. Meanwhile Swallows are proving a real handful and although their only clean sheet this season came in the MTN8 quarter final 2-0 home win over Amazulu, they have proved to be great entertainers in this early stage of the season.
It's a tough game to call with Pirates home matches renowned for being tight but the goals have been flowing at both ends in Swallows last four outings and my slight preference is both sides to find the net.
Bet: Both teams to score (yes) 8/10 BetXchange
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