Johannesburg - The last time Orlando Pirates were in Cape Town, they came back empty-handed. Now, the Buccaneers look menacing and unstoppable.
They go back to the same venue where they got a 3-0 pasting from Ajax Cape Town, but they now look like a team possessed following four successive victories.
On Wednesday, they visit Cape Town City, led by their former striker Benni McCarthy, as a spot in the last eight of the Nedbank Cup beckons.
It’s clear that McCarthy wants to be the one to bring down his former side.
City have been blowing hot and cold, and are the underdogs going into this encounter.
But following their narrow 1-0 win over Costa do Sol away in Mozambique in the CAF Confederation Cup on Wednesday, they will be eager to continue their fine form.
City will be on a two-pronged mission: to book a place in the quarter-finals and to avenge their neighbour Ajax’s loss to Pirates in the last round of the tournament.
But the momentum is with Pirates, judging by how they dispatched their opponents since the turn of the year – averaging at least two goals per game.
Pirates have peaked at the right time and credit should go to the technical team, led by Milutin Sredojevic. They started the season slowly, losing unnecessary games, but Micho has since got his troops where he wants them.
They might not have won anything yet, but they inspire confidence.
After scoring 11 times in their previous four games, City should be wary of the Pirates attack. The good thing about Pirates is that they do not rely on one player to score goals.
Last weekend, Luvuyo Memela came off the bench to score twice against Kaizer Chiefs. A week earlier, Justin Shonga scored a brace against Chippa United. Before then, Bernard Morrison’s two goals booked Pirates a place in the last 16.
City will have nowhere to hide on Wednesday if Pirates bring their A game.
But it won’t be a walk in the park for Pirates, with City on a mission to salvage something this season.
With the league title now almost out of their reach, the Citizens will look at the Nedbank Cup as the only silverware to show for the season.
McCarthy knows Pirates well and his side’s 2-0 win over Chippa last weekend should motivate them to go all out on Wednesday.
But they need to be consistent in front of goal if they are to upset Pirates.
However, we need to remember what happened the last time Pirates were in the Cape. Just saying.
Elsewhere, Mamelodi Sundowns should not break a sweat against ABC Motsepe League side EC Bees on Tuesday. Sundowns are likely to rest most of their first-team players ahead of their CAF Champions League return leg against Rwandan side Rayon Sports, but should still be good enough for the Bees.
Action resumes this afternoon, with a KwaZulu-Natal derby between National First Division (NFD) side Royal Eagles and Maritzburg United at Princess Magogo Stadium.
Bloemfontein Celtic welcome another NFD side, Richards Bay United, at Petrus Molemela Stadium. Both games start at 3.30pm.