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Football | Nedbank Cup

Kjell Jonevret © Gallo Images

Bloem Celtic take aim at Pirates



Orlando Pirates will hope to reach the last four of the Nedbank Cup when they host Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium in a quarterfinal match on Saturday night.

Kick-off is at 8:30pm.

Pirates started the tournament on fire, beating ABC Motsepe side EC Bees in East London in the Last 32, before beating Free State Stars 4-1 in the previous round.

Playing against another side from the Free State means the match is set to be a tightly contested affair as Siwelele will want to remain in the cup to represent their province.

On the other hand, the Soweto giants are slowly turning the corner in the league as they managed to bag four points from their last two matches.

With the Ke Yona competition giving them a chance to salvage something in the 2016-17 Premier Soccer League campaign, Pirates will need to show determination on the day.

Coach Kjell Jonevret will bank on his key players such as midfielders Mpho Makola and Oupa Manyisa, who were influential in defeating Ea Lla Koto in the Last 16.

"We are happy that we’re through to the next round of the competition. It wasn’t a good game but we fought as a team and we got the desired result,” Makola said after beating Free State.

“We went back to the drawing board after last week’s game (losing 3-2 to Stars) and we were a bit aggressive last week, and we came today and also needed to be a bit aggressive and in so doing that, we got the desired result.

“We had goals that we wanted to achieve this season and one of those goals was to win the Nedbank Cup.

"So far it’s been good and we’re happy with that, so we’re just hopeful that we can go through to the final and eventually win it for the chairman and for the supporters as well."

Shifting focus to the visitors, Celtic are also gunning for their maiden title since lifting the Telkom Knockout Cup in 2012.

Celtic have some off-the-field struggles with their new coach, Luc Eymael, ordered by the PSL Resolution Chamber to return to his former club, Polokwane City.

The move could distract the Mangaung-based club as they were becoming a better team under the influence of the Belgian manager.

Although Lehlohonolo Seema and John Maduka have led the team as interim coaches, they will have to continue and ensure they beat Pirates for the second time in all competitions.

In their cup run, they defeated Mbombela United as well as Buya Msuthu to reach this stage of the competition.

"They (Pirates) still pose a threat even though they have had a poor run this season," said midfielder Lyle Lakay.

"They have won their last two games, if I'm not mistaken, and the key players in their team are also picking up form.

"They will come out fighting, looking for revenge after [we] beat them in the first round of the league. It would be even better to survive and win the Nedbank Cup."



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