Pirates: Nervous, but optimistic about Absa Premiership title
Thursday, May 10, 2012 (15:09)
Benni McCarthy @ Backpagepix
Benni McCarthy @ Backpagepix
Orlando Pirates are within touching distance of making it two Absa Premiership titles in a row.

On pole with only two games to go, Pirates are aware that the only thing that might thwart their back-to-back triumph in the Absa Premiership is Orlando Pirates. The maths is simple: win your two games and lift the trophy!

The reality is that if they win their remaining two matches against Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows, they will be crowned champions on May 19.

They currently hold a two point advantage over Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows (50.)

Stand-in coach Augusto Palacios lost his first match in charge in mid-March against Santos in Cape Town, but since then the Peruvian has not put a foot wrong. He guided Pirates to an unbeaten nine-match league run that has included five wins and four draws.

The club also boasts the best home record in the league with a 14-10-0 (win-draw-loss) record ahead of their encounter against Celtic, a team they have beaten 16 out of 23 times at home.

However, Bucs supporters may be concerned by their 1-0 loss in the return fixture earlier this season, although that win was a first for Siwelele in over five years.

Pirates boast an equally admirable record against Arrows, who last took a point off them in September 2009, so there is bound to be plenty of confidence from the Black and White camp ahead of the penultimate round of matches.

Stranger things have happened, though, and should there be any slip-up Swallows will be licking their lips in anticipation as they face two sides with little to play for.

Gordon Igesundís men welcome Platinum Stars to Dobsonville in their next match, before a final day trip to Maritzburg United.

They have a +1 goal difference advantage over Pirates, hardly much should final proceedings be dictated by that column, but the Birds could be smiling should the champions-elect managed a draw and a win in their last two games.

Again, stranger things have happened in football, but the 2011/12 winners are unlikely to come from anywhere but those two.

Five-time champions Mamelodi Sundowns (49) have the best goal difference of the lot, but will need the pair to lose one of their fixtures and win their remaining ones against two sides also in contention SuperSport United (48) and Free State Stars (48), both at home.

United have Celtic away in their other game, while Stars are at home to Kaizer Chiefs.

So whatever happens, South African football fans are destined to witness another spectacular end to another fine season

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