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Football | Absa Premiership

Vladimir Vermezovic © Backpagepix

Pirates take aim at Maritzburg



Orlando Pirates will look to end their losing streak in the Absa Premiership when they host Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm.

The Buccaneers have suffered two consecutive 1-0 defeats in the league at the hands of Mpumalanga Black Aces and SuperSport United.

The Soweto side are placed seventh on the Absa Premiership log with 37 points from 24 matches.

Both sides won their Nedbank Cup encounters over the weekend and are set to meet in the semifinals but Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic says Tuesday night’s game will not be reduced to a cup dress rehearsal.

“We want to secure our position in the top eight and every game is separate,” he said.

“This league game is important for us.

“I don’t know how they are going to play. They played 120 minutes over the weekend, but they are professional and they are prepared to play for more than 90 minutes.

“The mood in our camp is high after winning the cup game on Saturday and I hope we will play well tomorrow. We will make some changes to rest some players.”

Maritzburg United are unbeaten in their last three matches after registering victories against Supersport United and Lamontville Golden Arrows before playing to a 1-1draw against Polokwane City.

The Team of Choice have claimed 13 points from as many away matches so far this season and are currently placed 12th on the Absa Premiership log with 31 points from 26 matches.

Midfielder Thamsanqa Mkhize says they still have high hopes of finishing in the top eight and that winning Tuesday’s game would help them move up on the table.

“We have to go for all three points on Tuesday because we want to give ourselves a chance of finishing in the top eight,” he said.

“It’s going to be difficult because they also need the points but we will have to work together as a team.

“They have speedy wingers and fullbacks but that will also give us an advantage to catch them on counterattacks.”

Mkhize also believes that being pitted against the Buccaneers in the next round of the Nedbank Cup will not have an effect on Tuesday night’s league clash.

“Our focus right now is on winning the league game,” he said. “We’ll have enough time to think about the cup game, which will be a different challenge altogether.

“We have been playing well in recent weeks and we’ll take each game as it comes.”

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