Cape Town - Matches between Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town are usually thrill-a-minute encounters with little to separate the two.
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The two sides are set to lock horns in the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout Cup. The Urban Warriors will be looking to replicate their league form into the cup competition while Pirates, who were finalists in 2013, will eye yet another final berth this year.
So how will both teams fair in this encounter?
According to Pirates’ website, if purely based on the history books, one would favour the Urban Warriors to take this one. Pirates and Ajax have met three times in this competition (twice in a final); and the Cape Town based outfit has come out tops in all three meetings.First Meeting
Result: Ajax 1-1 Pirates (replay 4-1 to Ajax)
Competition: Rothmans Cup Final
Date: December 13, 2000
Ajax won their first major trophy following the merger of Cape Town Spurs and Seven Stars. The youthful Ajax Cape Town side boasting exciting youngsters such as Sibusiso Mzizi, Brett Evans, Carlo Scott and David Kannemeyer turns the tables on an experienced Bucs outfit which featured the likes of Steve Lekoelea, Jerry Sikhosana, Thabo Mngomeni, William Okpara and Denis Lota.
Not only did Ajax win the match but they completely dominated the clash from start to finish courtesy of goals from Evans, Scott (x2) and Jeremy Jansen. Pirates had a consolation goal in the 75th minute off the boot of Jerry Sikhosana.
Result: Ajax 2-0 Pirates
Competition: Coca- Cola Cup Last 16
Date: October 7, 2001
Following a disappointment in the Rothmans Cup the year before, Pirates got the chance to avenge the defeat when they travelled to the Mother City to take on Ajax Cape Town in the Last 16 of the competition. However, any chance of revenge was thwarted with Ajax emerging 2-0 victors on the day.
Third MeetingResult: Pirates 1-2 Ajax
Competition: Telkom Knockout Cup Final
Date: December 13, 2008
The omens were against Pirates on this occasion, for starters the final was played on December 13, the same day Pirates lost to the same team seven years ago in the final of the Rothmans Cup. Furthermore, a week prior to the final, Pirates lost 1-0 to Ajax in the league courtesy of a goal from Mabuthi Khenyeza.
It was Khenyeza again who would put Pirates chances to bed as he went on to grab two goals in six minutes. A consolation goal by Siphelele Mthembu towards the end of the match was all the Buccaneers could muster in this encounter.
Edge for Bucs
There is no disputing Pirates’ dominance in cup final appearances over the last four years. The men in black and white have buried the hoodoo of 2000, where they went on for a decade without any cup success to average at least one trophy a season.
In the last four years Orlando Pirates has reached:
• 4 MTN8 finals - winning two (2010 & 2011) and losing two (2013 & 2014).
• 3 Telkom Knockout finals - winning once (2011) and losing twice (2010 & 2013)
• 2 Nedbank Cup finals - winning both (2010 & 2014)
• 1 CAF Champions League final - losing to Al Ahly (2013)
All in all, Pirates have reached an impressive ten finals winning half of those.
The current generation of Orlando Pirates have continued where they left off last season (where they finished on 53 matches) to continue their run of playing every match possible. Their unbroken run now stretches to 65. Players such as Oupa Manyisa and Senzo Meyiwa have now notched 63 games each.So who will win when these two sides meet in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout Cup?