Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns will be eyeing maximum points against an Orlando Pirates side who currently find themselves against the ropes.
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The two sides go head-to-head at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night, with Pirates looking to avoid a hat-trick of league defeats after losing to Maritzburg United and then Kaizer Chiefs, with the former result costing coach Vladimir Vermozovic his job.
Sundowns, meanwhile, will be chasing a third consecutive league win after victories over SuperSport United and Free State Stars took them up to second on the league standings, although the defending PSL champions remain 13 points adrift of Kaizer Chiefs.
Stand-in Bucs coach Eric Tinkler has been doing his best to rally his troops, but faces an uphill battle with a squad still reeling from the death of goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, as well as the resignation of Vermozovic. Tinkler will lead his men into battle from a lowly ninth position on the standings.
There is good news though for Tinkler in terms of player availability - only long term injury victim Lucky Lekgwathi remains sidelined, while Helder Pelembe and Thabo Qalinge are both back in training and could potentially make the match-day squad.
Sundowns, beaten just once in their last 12 matches, will certainly go into the clash in Soweto as favourites after having showed improved form of late, and will be hoping to record three consecutive league wins for the first time since September in what has been an inconsistent season overall.
Pirates can, however, take inspiration from their showdown with Sundowns earlier this season, which saw a double from Kermit Erasmus and a Lehlohonolo Majoro strike secure a 3-0 win for the Buccaneers back in August.
Tinkler will again have to wrestle with a selection headache: does he decide to start his two most prolific goal-scorers, Erasmus and Majoro, together, or will he again feel that the pair are too similar to play at the same time?
Sundowns’ main man up front has been Cuthbert Malajila, who has netted six goals and provided six assists in all competitions for the Tshwane side this season. The Zimbabwean international scored in the 2-0 win over Free State Stars on the weekend before being substituted due to a hamstring complaint, although the club are confident he should be ready to play against Pirates.
Like Pirates, Sundowns have no players on suspension, although the likes of Elias Pelembe, Percy Tau and Mario Booysen have all been out injured recently.
Sundowns have edged Pirates over the years, having won 25 of the 60 league matches since 1985, with AmaBhakabhaka triumphing 19 times.
Kick-off is at 19:30.
LIVE scoring and interactive commentary of the Absa Premiership encounter between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.