Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United will meet in the second leg of their MTN8 semifinal at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening with the cup tie very much in the balance.
|Siyabonga Sangweni and Mabhuti Khenyeza @ Backpagepix
The first leg last Sunday ended in a goalless stalemate, but the match was certainly not without incident.
SuperSport played half of the game with 10 men after midfielder Edwin Gyimah received a straight red card, while Pirates were reduced to the same number of players when defender Rooi Mahamutsa received his marching orders at the final whistle.
No goals and a red card apiece was a fair reflection of a tough match in which neither side was prepared to give an inch.
A pragmatic tactical approach from both sides was not a surprise considering that the encounter at Peter Mokaba last weekend was the first of three matches between the teams in the space of six days.
The second was an Absa Premiership encounter at the same venue on Wednesday night, and again it ended in a goalless draw after another bruising encounter.
Everyone involved will be hoping that a chance of venue to the Orlando Stadium this weekend will brings about the goals that this titanic rivalry has threatened but so far failed to deliver.
With an away draw from the first leg under their belt, one would be inclined to install the Buccaneers as slight favourites. They have home advantage and know that a win at their fortress Orlando Stadium will put them through to the final and in with a chance of an unprecedented third successive Top Eight title.
However, only Matsatsantsa can now benefit from the away goals rule Ė any score draw will put them into the final.
Having been eliminated in the 2008 MTN8 semifinals on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw with Pretoria rivals Mamelodi Sundowns, perhaps it is Unitedís turn to inflict that kind of defeat on someone else.
Furthermore, Gavin Huntís side has a good recent record in away games against Pirates. Though they were beaten 3-0 in a league match at Orlando Stadium last season, their previous five league visits to the Soweto side brought them four wins and a draw.
The teams will have an intimate knowledge of each other having done battle twice in recent days, and this second leg semifinal is bound to be another tightly contested affair.
Regardless of who comes out on top, they will have to earn their place in the MTN8 final the hard way.
Kick-off is at 20h15.