Thembinkosi Lorch setback for Pirates

Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch vies for the ball with Sundowns' Themba Zwane during their match at Orlando Stadium on Monday night.
Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch vies for the ball with Sundowns' Themba Zwane during their match at Orlando Stadium on Monday night.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The suspension of Thembinkosi Lorch for Orlando Pirates before the clash against fellow title chasers Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday could be detrimental to Bucs' title race.

After picking up his third yellow card in their goalless draw at home to leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on Monday, Lorch will miss Saturday's clash as the Soweto giants look to end their Bidvest Stadium league jinx. The last time Pirates bagged a league victory against the Clever Boys at Milpark was back in April 2013, claiming a 1-0 win.

Having been touted as one of the contenders for the Player of the Season award, Lorch is the last player Bucs would like to go to Bidvest without in the title race. The 25-year-old attacking midfielder has five league goals to his name this season, from 20 games.

To make matters worse, Pirates may also be forced to soldier on without their in-form duo of goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands and winger Luvuyo Memela. The pair were forced out with injuries against Downs.

Sandilands suffered a head injury after colliding with the Brazilians defender Wayne Arendse, while Memela sustained a severe gush above his knee at the hands of Downs skipper Hlompho Kekana.

Pirates and Wits are level on 41 points, three adrift of the Brazilians.

In a week where Bucs have already lost ground on the title race through failing to beat Sundowns at home, this match could define their title credentials.

Against Downs, it was Pirates' 11th draw of the season, meaning the Soweto giants have dropped 22 points through playing stalemates.

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