khumalo warns pirates

SUPERSPORT United are on fire and Orlando Pirates are going to suffer the same fate that enveloped Mpumalanga Black Aces when the two meet in Tshwane tonight, warned United captain Bongani Khumalo.

SUPERSPORT United are on fire and Orlando Pirates are going to suffer the same fate that enveloped Mpumalanga Black Aces when the two meet in Tshwane tonight, warned United captain Bongani Khumalo.

United destroyed Absa Premiership debutants Aces, putting five goals past their new German goalkeeper Thomas Richter on Saturday.

But then Pirates's Moeneeb Josephs has been in uncompromising mood between the posts this season.

United and Bucs meet at Loftus Versfeld Stadium - kickoff is at 7.30pm - and with both sides level on 19 points at the top of the table, this has all the hallmarks of a thriller.

"We don't single anybody out for special treatment, so the Pirates match will receive the same intensity as the Aces one," Khumalo said.

"When it comes to goals, the coach expects the whole team to chip in and take responsibility.

"It says a great deal about the quality of everyone in this team and our positive approach."

Coach Gavin Hunt is not falling for the hype, and rightly points to the 19 matches still left before the season ends in February.

"This time last season we were ahead of them by many points, but they caught up," said Hunt.

"What is to stop that from happening (again)?"

With Brent Carelse out of this match, Daine Klate, Glen Salmon and Morgan Gould will have to keep Pirates at bay.

Pirates defender Lucky Lekgwathi said his team was motivated by the will to reclaim the top spot from United.

"We have only conceded two goals after 10 matches - it has never happened before in the nine years I've been with Pirates," he said.

"If you slip up, someone else is waiting to take your place. For me, losing to Santos for the first time this season at the weekend was a wake-up call.

"Tonight's match will not be easy - it is never easy against United. We owe them after they pipped us at the last hurdle last season."

lBloemfontein Celtic welcome Mamelodi Sundowns to Seisa Ramabodu, also at 7.30pm.

The Celtic rearguard, which is likely to be Johannes Motlhaping, Mbuyiselo Sambu, Michael Khaile and Mokete Tsotetsi, will have their hands full with Sundowns player of the month Katlego Mphela in rampant form.

Having suffered their first defeat against Ajax Cape Town on Sunday, Celtic would not want to make it two in a row in front of the faithful Siwelele.

Thabo Nthethe and leading goal scorer Prince Olomu have been Owen da Gama's most consistent choices, though he might go for Patrick Malokase and Thembile Kanono in the starting 11.

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