Pirates in search of maximum points

THE Absa Premiership reigning champions Orlando Pirates will not allow Platinum Stars to hinder their pursuit of defending their league title.

Pirates host the Royal Bafokeng outfit in a 2011/12 Absa Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night, kick-off at 19:30pm.

Both teams go into this game in high spirits after their season openers ended victorious. Pirates started their League title defence with a 2-0 victory over PSL rookies, Black Leopards, while Owen Da Gama’s charges caused the biggest upset of the new season with an incredible 2-0 victory over last seasons’ PSL’s runners up, Ajax Cape Town.

What was interesting about Pirates’ and Platinum Stars’ victories is that Pirates’ Benni McCarthy scored a goal for the champions on his derby while Stars’ perfect start to the season was also orchestrated by their new signings, midfielder Lantshane Phalane who was signed from Baroka FC and a penalty by Elias Ngwepe who joined Stars from Maritburg United.

Statistics shows that when the two teams met last season in their league encounters the first round ended goalless and Pirates wrapped up the second round with a 2-1 victory at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi agreed that Stars are a tricky team to play against.

“They will be ready for us and we will be ready for them too.

“Like all the teams in the PSL they have signed a number of good players and the fact that they beat Ajax Cape Town is a clear indication that they have assembled a good side and deserve to be respected.”

“As champions every team will raise their game against us and each match we play will be like a cup final. A win against Platinum Stars will keep us on track in our quest to defend our title, but we are not putting ourselves under pressure.

“We are still in the early stages of our title defence and we know that it will not be easy, but we are taking it one game at a time,” added the treble winning skipper.

Platinum Stars’ coach, Owen Da Gama believes that playing teams such as Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates gives him an indication of how well their preparations for the new season have gone.

“As usual, we are expecting a tough game from Pirates, and the team that gets it right on the day will win this encounter.

“Every coach comes into the new season with an intention of doing well, and we want to continue with the good form we displayed against Ajax Cape Town.”

However, Da Gama agreed that they will have to double their efforts if they are to beat Pirates.

“We watched them play in the MTN8 cup competition as well in their game against Black Leopards, and what I can say is that there are some aspects of their game that we have identified but I’m keeping them close to my chest.”

The Dikwena coach also added that he was delighted with the performance of his side and the new players in the team against Ajax Cape Town, but he is still looking at bringing in another four to five players to reinforce his side.

Bad news for Platinum Stars is that they suffered a serious blow during their hard fought 2-0 victory over Ajax Cape Town when two of their new acquisitions, Robert Ngambi and Tshifhiwa Mmboooi had to be substituted due to injuries.-Backpagepix



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