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Pirates go for broke in push for Champions League qualification

Soweto giants must win last two games

Neville Khoza Journalist
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium on May 24, 2022 in Johannesburg.
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium on May 24, 2022 in Johannesburg.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates will have to achieve something they failed to do in league matches in the entire season by winning three successive games to finish second and qualify for the CAF Champions League.

Only once did the Buccaneers manage to register three successive wins this campaign between December and January in the league and the Nedbank Cup.

They beat Marumo Gallants in the league and AmaZulu twice, once in the DStv Premiership match and the other in the Nedbank competition.

Having beaten Maritzburg United on Tuesday in a league match, the Buccaneers will have to win against Royal AM at Chatsworth Stadium tonight (7.30pm) and against SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday to qualify for Champions League via finishing as runners-up in the Premiership.

Should they win their remaining two matches, the Soweto giants will end on 49 points and that will be enough to secure a berth for CAF's premier clubs championship. That amount of points will be enough to pip Cape Town City to the second spot by  a superior goal difference.

But winning tonight could prove a daunting task as Royal, in their last league match, are also fighting for the second spot and victory will move them up to 49 points.

The Durban side currently have a goal difference of 12, better than City's 8. 

Defeat for Pirates tonight will mean the end of their CAF hopes as they won’t even qualify for the Confederation Cup should they finish with 46 points, that is if  they beat SuperSport in their last match.

Royal coach John Maduka has said he expects a difficult match as both teams chase the CAF spot.

“It is not going to be an easy game because the team we are playing against also want to qualify for the CAF competition and they know that if they lose against us, they are out,” Maduka told the media yesterday.

“That’s going to make the game difficult, but at the same time, it will be very interesting because both teams have something to play for.”

Pirates on the other side were impressive when they demolished Maritzburg 4-1, with star player Thembinkosi Lorch very much the livewire, scoring once and creating three assists.

That's the performance the Ghost will be hoping for to inspire them again in the remaining two matches to win and qualify for the Champions League.

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