Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates may be in the respective second and third positions on the Absa Premiership table, but league form counts for little as these two clubs prepare to face off against each other in the Telkom Knockout competition.
The match kicks off at the Princess Magogo Stadium near Durban on Saturday (start at 3.30pm).
Arrows, in the midst of one of their finest season starts in many a season, will be keen to set the record straight after being eliminated by Pirates in the first round of last year’s competition.
Since first facing Arrows in the Telkom Knockout back in 2010, Pirates have won all four matches but go into the game off the back of a slight speed wobble which has seen them draw their last three league encounters.
Football revolves off the back of confidence and the Buccaneers will be desperate to see the ball against the back of the Arrows goal, after playing to a goalless draw against Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby last Saturday.
For Pirates to be in with a chance, they need their midfield to be able to dominate for a lengthily period of 70 minutes or more, but the ask is a tough one against an Arrows team that is renowned for giving their opponents very little time on the ball and space to move.
The Pirates defence in front of goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, has looked a far improved unit after a disappointing 2016/2017 campaign on all fronts. The Buccaneers will have worked out that the road to a cup win is a much shorter route to success, than the marathon race towards around 62 points (potentially 19 wins and 5 draws) to lift the Absa Premiership title.
Pirates hold a proud record of not having lost in the first round of the Telkom Knockout since going down on penalties to Benoni Premier United 10 years back.
In all matches played against Arrows in Durban, Pirates have outscored their opponents 30-14.
– African News Agency (ANA)