It’s crunch time for Orlando Pirates, who can almost touch what has been an elusive PSL title since back-to-back triumphs at the turn of the decade.
The Soweto giants top the league standings, only just pipping defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, with the two teams only separated by goal difference.
The two top teams make up half of the sides still in contention for the big prize, with 2016/17 champions Bidvest Wits also in the running – alongside Cape Town City, who are chasing a maiden league title.
The Citizens – coached by a former Buccaneers in Benni McCarthy – stand directly in the log-leaders way, as the two teams are set to do battle on Saturday, in what is the penultimate round of PSL fixtures for the 2018/19 season.
What Pirates need to win the league
Log position and recent form makes Pirates slight favourites to win the title, but everyone in the camp will know not to let up their intensity.
The maximum number of points the winner will be able to collect is 59, and only the Buccaneers and Sundowns can get to that mark.
Although it goes without saying, this makes the next two games must-win encounters for Milutin Sredojevic’s men, but even maximum points does not guarantee an end to their trophy drought.
The Serb has highlighted his charges’ need to up their goal difference if they are to walk away with top honours, and the pressure to do so has been upped by the result of their closest title rivals’ last outing, where they beat Black Leopards 2-0 to close the gap to just four goals.
To further complicate matters for the Soweto giants, the Tshwane outfit has – on paper – an easier run-in to the end of the season, as they are left with fixtures against sides from the bottom half of the table.
Pirates, on the other hand, have to deal with Cape Town City, the same side that effectively ended their title charge at a similar stage of the competition, before they go on to host anothere tricky customer in Polokwane City on the final day.
Orlando Pirates remaining fixtures
vs Cape Town City – Athlone Stadium, 4 May
vs Polokwane City – Orlando Stadium, 11 May