PSL Preview: Cape Town City v Orlando Pirates
Cape Town City will be looking to derail Orlando Pirates' Absa Premiership title charge when the sides meet at Athlone Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Pirates are on a four-match winning streak and unbeaten in their last eight in the league and come in to the game in good form. Milutin Sredojevic's side secured a 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United in their previous league fixture played last Wednesday. They have had two days more to rest than City.
The Buccanneers' away form is also good as they have lost just once on the road this year. Having barely had to get out of second gear in recent times, this will undoubtedly be the Sea Robbers' toughest test in the run-in.
Sundowns kept up the pressure on Sredojevic's side with a 2-1 victory over Black Leopards on Wednesday evening. The sides are now equal on points, but Micho's side lead the table by virtue of a superior goal difference.
City, who were Q3 winners, have seen their title surge slightly fall by the wayside in the fourth quarter. However, Benni McCarthy's side are still in with a mathematical chance of winning the title. The Cityzens are coming off the back of a 2-0 victory over Chippa United on Friday evening.
And McCarthy says it will be an 'emotional' game as he comes up against the side he scored ten goals in 24 games for as a player.
"It's going to be an emotional game, it's going to be a very tactical encounter because for Pirates it's been five or six years that they've found themselves in this situation," said the City boss.
"The last time they did I was still at the club. That was when we knew what winning was about.
"But I think they've done exceptionally well this season and you have to give credit to the club."
Meanwhile, Micho has likened the clash to a 'final' before their last game of the season against Polokwane City.
“We need to be very careful than before. We are going to face a team that is sitting pretty well on the log table,” Sredojevic told Isolezwe on Tuesday.
“They are a good team that is well coached by McCarthy who has an amazing intelligence.
“On top of that, he has players of top quality. So, it’s never been easy going to Cape Town, we all know we are facing a very strong team. I take this game as a final before the game against Polokwane City at home.”
Despite winning their last four games on the bounce, the Serb tactician has bemoaned his side's finishing and feels their wastefulness in front of goal could come back to haunt them.
“Sometimes the pressure of fighting for the title distracts the players. When it enters their minds, they fail to remain composed and fail to control their legs to do the right things,” he continued.
“We create plenty of chances, but we do not convert them. That must change because it would come back to bite us – this is caused by the pressure because we are challenging for the title.”
Xola Mlambo, Jackson Mabokgwane and Kudakwashe Mahachi could return for Pirates, while City striker Kermit Erasmus won't face his former club as he is suspended.
When the teams met earlier this season, at Orlando Stadium in September 2018, City came from two goals behind to claim a 2-2 draw, with Ayanda Patosi netting a second-half brace for the Cape side.
Kick-off is at 3:00pm.