Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic gears up for Maritzburg United test
Posted: 15 September 2017 Time: 14:03
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic is expected to favour continuity heading into tonight's top-of-the-table clash with Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium.
It is believed that Sredojevic will field the same team that defeated Ajax Cape Town 1-0 on Tuesday courtesy of Bernard Morrison's ninth minute strike at Orlando Stadium.
The Serbian notably deployed Mthokozisi Dube at right-back and shifted versatile captain Thabo Matlaba into central midfield, alongside Mpho Makola and new signing Musa Nyatama. Matlaba earned rich praise after the contest in Soweto as 'Micho' labelled him the 'Philipp Lahm of South African football'.
Innocent Maela, who has impressed on his return to Mayfair from his loan spell at Thanda Royal Zulu, operated on the left side of defence as Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Happy Jele shielded goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, who has kept two clean sheets since his off-season arrival from Premiership rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Sea Robbers leaked 40 goals in 2016/17 with Jackson Mabokgwane, Siyabonga Mpontshane and departed duo Felipe Ovono and Brighton Mhlongo doing little to instil confidence in goal, as the club finished outside of the top eight for the first time in PSL history.
Striker Thamsanqa Gabuza led the line against the Urban Warriors, with assistance from Morrison and ex-Mpumalanga Black Aces winger Thabo Qalinge.
Thabiso Kutumela, who hit a brace in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge last weekend, is pushing for game-time, while Micho also has the offensive options of Ayanda Nkosi and highly-rated teenager Lyle Foster.
Both clubs are unbeaten with seven points from three games, with the hosts enjoying a +2 advantage in goal difference.
The Team of Choice, however, are set to play their third game in nine days following a 2-0 defeat to SuperSport United in the MTN8 semi-finals on the weekend and a 1-1 draw with derby rivals AmaZulu on Tuesday.
Coach Fadlu Davids is also without experienced centre-back Bevan Fransman and fellow defender Brian Onyango through injury, as well as suspended Cameroonian midfielder Yazid Atouba and team doctor Burger van der Merwe.
David has indicated he will ring the changes against the Buccaneers, who nevertheless face arguably their biggest test of the season against a hard-working outfit that saw off African champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8.
Kick-off is at 20h00.