Orlando Pirates seek to reignite faltering title charge

Xola Mlambo, left, seen here with SuperSport's Dean Furman, has come under criticism from some Orlando Pirates fans over his dip in form lately.
Xola Mlambo, left, seen here with SuperSport's Dean Furman, has come under criticism from some Orlando Pirates fans over his dip in form lately.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

It's been seven games since Orlando Pirates last won a match and the wheels are coming off.

Since beating Horoya of Guinea 3-0 in their CAF Champions League group stage clash last month, Bucs have drawn three and lost three, including a 1-0 defeat to SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night.

In third spot on the log, Bucs' title challenge appears to be falling apart, while the supporters bemoan the poor performances of stars like Xola Mlambo, who's come under increasing pressure.

Former Bucs player Steve Lekoelea also criticised coach Micho Sredojevic and his technical team's chopping and changing of the starting line-up in an interview with Sowetan this week.

But amid the criticism, the show must go on and Pirates host AmaZulu at Orlando Stadium tomorrow night (8.15pm).

"The way we can pull ourselves up is to stop thinking about the loss to SuperSport and start thinking about AmaZulu," Sredojevic reflected after his charges went down to Matsatsantsa a Pitori in Mbombela.

"The players gave everything and we dominated. We are disappointed with the result and [we are] satisfied with the effort."

The former Uganda coach remains convinced that the team is doing enough and the favourable results will come again.

He said: "I think the effort will sooner rather than later pay us back. We need to be strong to bounce back against AmaZulu. That's our only focus now."

When the two sides met in October, the match finished 1-all at the King Zwelithini Stadium.

Augustine Mulenga netted for Pirates and Emiliano Tade, who has since joined Mamelodi Sundowns, equalised for Usuthu.

Pirates will be without their captain Happy Jele, who is suspended

AmaZulu, meanwhile, will welcome back striker Bonginkosi Ntuli, who missed their last match which was a 1-0 win over Cape Town City, because he was serving a one-match suspension.

Ntuli is on eight goals in all competitions this season and the Pirates defence must keep a close eye on him.

Fixtures

Today: Chippa v Arrows, Nelson Mandela Bay, 8pm

Tomorrow: Polokwane v Chiefs, Peter Mokaba, 3.30pm; CPT City v Maritzburg, Athlone, 3.30pm; Wits v Sundowns, Bidvest, 6pm; Pirates v AmaZulu, Orlando, 8.15pm; SuperSport v Baroka, Lucas Moripe Stadium, 8.15pm

Sunday: Celtic v FS Stars, Dr Molemela Stadium, 3.30pm; Leopards v Highlands, Thohoyandou, 3.30pm

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