Absa Premiership

Buccaneers ready for Ajax test

2015-08-04 07:45
Thabo Rakhale (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town will kick start the 2015/16 domestic season when they meet in the MTN8 quarterfinals.

Pirates were runners-up in the MTN8 last season, eliminating SuperSport United 2-1 and Bidvest Wits 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter- and semifinals respectively before falling 1-0 in the final to arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs.

The Buccaneers had a difficult season in which they finished just fourth on the league table [a full 19 points off the pace of champions Chiefs] and failed to pick up any silverware.

However, the tragic death of Senzo Meyiwa and the departure of Vladimir Vermezovic provided mitigating circumstances for their troubles last term.

Eric Tinkler took over from Vermezovic in late 2014 and has done a fine job in stabilising the team and seeing them through to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup - a feat which means Bucs have essentially not had any kind of off season.

As for Ajax, they are returning to the MTN8 for the first time since 2011. The Cape Town side finished a creditable fifth on the league table last season, and finished runners-up in the Nedbank Cup after losing to Mamelodi Sundowns on penalties in the final.

In head-to-head stats, Pirates and Ajax have met in eight previous cup matches, the most recent of which was just last season.

The Buccaneers crushed the Urban Warriors 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Telkom Knockout.

However, that victory was against the general trend of cup results between the teams, with the Cape side leading 4-3 in terms of victories when it comes to knockout clashes.

Overall, the teams have met in 40 matches across all competitions since Ajax’s formation back in 1999.

Bucs boast double the amount of wins - 20 to 10 - while 10 matches have been drawn. The teams' most recent meeting was on the final day of the league season in May this year, a 2-2 draw in which Thabiso Nkoana and Riyaad Norodien scored for the coastal side, while Kermit Erasmus and Menzi Masuku netted for Bucs.

The match will be played at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday, August 4.

Kick-off is at 19:30.


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