Form favours United over Pirates

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

The form book suggests SuperSport United are more consistent and thus favourites to beat Orlando Pirates in tonight's SAA Supa 8 semifinal at the King's Park Rugby Stadium in Durban.

In their first three official matches of the season, SuperSport slipped once when they lost to Black Leopards in their opening fixture.

They quickly exacted revenge when they booted Leopards out of the cup quarterfinal 2-0 and beat Benoni Premier United 1-0 in their second league fixture.

The Buccaneers' run reads: 1-0 loss to Moroka Swallows, 2-0 cup win over Ajax Cape Town and a 1-0 loss to Bidvest Wits in their second fixture of the season.

So confident are United going into tonight's match that coach Gavin Hunt posted his starting line-up on the club's website 24 hours before kickoff.

Hunt has reshuffled his back four, moving Ricardo Katza to fill in for the suspended Tsietsi Mahoa on the left, and new signing Sphiwe Mkhonza comes in to partner Ricardo Katza in central defence and Rudi Isaacs on the right.

In-form Daine Klate will maraud down the left flank with Elias Pelembe on the right. Sibusiso Mahlangu and Senzo Ndlovu will take on Josephy Kamwendo and Teko Modise in a central midfield duel.

Hunt has decided to stick with his strike pair of Katlegos, Mashego and Mphela.

Who do they come up against - Lehlohonolo Seema and Bongani Cashibe, who did well in the last game, or will Pirates coach Bibey Mutombo let Destin Makita walk back into the team from injury?

Clearly, Pirates will have to make sure Lucky Lekgwathi is protected, unlike against Wits where Calvin Sosibo ran him ragged, by bringing on a right winger who can track back to defend, like Rudzani Ramudzuli.

Tshepo Leshabane has done well at left-back, but his partner Bennet Chenene lacks influence of late.

A small positive for Mutombo is that he has his first-choice striking pair of Lebohang Mokoena and Ralph Matema are available for selection.

Losing to United for the second time in as many seasons at the same stage of this tournament will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Buccaneers.

They thought they had it in the bag last season until Tony Tsabedze struck seconds from time and United stole it 5-4 on penalties.