bucs target birds

ORLANDO Pirates and Moroka Swallows will be looking to put their disappointing midweek results behind them when they meet at Orlando Stadium in the original Soweto derby tomorrow night.

Pirates go into this encounter smarting from a midweek setback in which they were humbled 2-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns at Super Stadium.

Spirits in the Birds' aviary are likely to be low after their failure to beat league upstarts Mpumalanga Black Aces at home.

They drew 1-all on Wednesday and were the bookies' bet to win that one after beating Lamontville Golden Arrows 3-1 on the road last weekend.

While this derby has to a certain extent lost its spark and has been playing second fiddle to the more glamorous Pirates-Kaizer Chiefs clash for years, it is likely to evoke excitement among those who have been following these giants for ages.

The last time Pirates and Swallows met at this Soweto venue was on December 18 2005.

Swallows emerged 3-1 victors from that encounter, thanks to goals from Lefa Tsutsulupa - a brace - and Tsweu Mokoro.

Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi scored for the Buccaneers.

Only three points separate the two sides on the log and Swallows will be looking to add to the Buccaneers' woes to avenge their 1-0 first-round defeat at Dobsonville on August 26.

With Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma starting to show the kind of form that made him one of the most feared strikers in the country, Pirates' rearguard - without the reliable Lucas Thwala - will be under maximum pressure.

Midfielder Teko Modise is still nursing an injury and with the Bafana Bafana playmaker out, Swallows will smell blood and fancy their chances.

Captain Tsutsulupa, if given space to manoeuvre, is likely to unleash his wrath on Pirates and inflict damage on the hosts.

Despite their Wednesday night defeat, Pirates remain a quality side and it would be naïve to deem them not good enough to win this one.

In Katlego Mashego, Andile Jali and Dikgang "Terminator" Mabalane, they have quality attackers who on their day can rip any defence to shreds.

Having come so close to topping the league last season, they will not be giving up the fight just yet and fans can expect them to come out guns blazing.