The Soweto giants, who are on top of Group B, have collected four points out of a possible six on home soil. While this is not a bad return, they will feel that they could have done much better to get maximum points against defending champions Esperance over the weekend. A win for the Buccaneers would have put them in a much better position going into the second half of the group stage campaign. Now they’ve got one more home match, which means they’ll have to grind positive results when they visit Esperance and Horoya in their remaining away matches. The Buccaneers have done well to keep clean sheets at home and have a good chance of making it three in a row when they host Zimbabwean side FC Platinum in March.
The Buccaneers opened their group campaign with a match away from home to FC Platinum at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. They managed to get a point on the road, but would probably feel they missed out on securing three points against Platinum who were beaten 1-0 by Horoya at the same venue this past weekend. They will, however, be satisfied with the fact that they have not conceded on the road, giving them confidence going forward. They would not want to go into their final group match against Horoya in Conakry needing to win at all costs to progress, so they have to do as much as possible to collect points against Esperance next weekend away from home and again when they host FC Platinum in March.
The former Bloemfontein Celtic defender has been immense at the back, helping the Buccaneers to three straight clean sheets in the competition. He has played in all the side’s group matches and will be key for the remaining three matches, to stop some of the big men who play in the Champions League.
The former Cape Town All Stars and Maluti FET College player has arguably been Pirates’ best player this season. Lorch, who is the club's top scorer this season with nine goals, was on the scoresheet when Pirates beat Horoya 3-0.
Bucs’ top scorer in the group stages is Shonga, whose two goals in the round robin phase were scored in the 3-0 victory over Horoya. He could have had a third in the group campaign had the linesman seen that he was not in fact offside against Esperance, as he lobbed the keeper and put the ball in the back of the net. While he may sometimes be guilty of wasting glorious opportunities, Shonga has proven to be a handful to deal with.
Pirates’ rating at the halfway mark: 7/10