High stakes for both Ajax and Pirates

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Kick off is at 19h30.

The Urban Warriors have failed to win any of their last three league games, picking up just two points out of a possible nine, severely denting their hopes of a first-ever top flight league title.

And it is not just their bid for glory that is at stake: with Santos breathing down their neck and in great form, the Urban Warriors could yet drop to third place and miss out on qualification for the 2009 CAF Champions League.

All this means that Ajax must claim three points against the Buccaneers at Athlone if they are to deliver on the promise they have shown thus far this season.

The good news for the Urban Warriors is that Pirates are in dreadful form.

The Soweto giants are winless in their last four league matches; in fact they have claimed victory only once in their last seven PSL games – a run that has scuppered their hopes of winning a first title since 2002/03.

Owen Da Gama’s team have suffered their fair share of injuries and suspensions, and at the moment they seem to be merely limping toward the end of the season, in danger of possibly falling out of the top eight unless they quickly pick up their form.

The Buccaneers won the first round meeting of the two teams 2-1 back in December last year, with goals from Bennett Chenene and Lucky Lekgwathi overhauling Thembinkosi Fanteni’s opener.

In head-to-head statistics, Pirates have won 10 of the teams’ 17 league meetings since Ajax’s formation in 1999/2000, tasting defeat on just three occasions and outscoring the Cape side 30 goals to 14.

Ajax:Date H/A Opponent Result16/04/08 A Free State Stars D 1-113/04/08 A Moroka Swallows L 1-219/03/08 H Platinum Stars D 1-107/03/08 A BidVest Wits W 1-004/03/08 A SuperSport United L 2-3

Pirates:12/04/08 H Supersport United L 0-105/04/08 H Jomo Cosmos D 0-022/03/08 A Thanda Royal Zulu L 1-208/03/08 H Black Leopards D 0-005/03/08 A Bloemfontein Celtic W 1-0

1999/2000Orlando Pirates 2 (Mnguni, Lekoelea) Ajax Cape Town 3 (Pienaar 2, Mchunu)Ajax 2 (Augustine, Pienaar) Pirates 2 (Mkize (pen), Sebola)

2000/01Ajax 0 Pirates 1 (Lota)Pirates 3 (Ndlanya, Sikhosana, Lebese) Ajax 0

2001/02Ajax 1 (Carelse) Pirates 0 – Game abandoned after 85 minutes. A 1-0 win awarded to AjaxPirates 2 (Cele, Manyathela) Ajax 0

2002/03Ajax 0 Pirates 3 (Mofedi, S.Mazibuko, Manyathela)Pirates 1 (Vilakazi) Ajax 0

2003/04Pirates 1 (Dinha) Ajax 1 (Ngake)Ajax 1 (Paulse) Pirates 3 (Vilakazi 2 P.Thwala)

2004/05Pirates 6 (Vilakazi, Arendse, Manenzhe 2, Leremi, Netshodwe) Ajax 0Ajax 0 Pirates 1 (Vilakazi)

2005/06Pirates 2 (Mdlele, Mokoena) Ajax 1 (Paulse)Ajax 0 Pirates 0

2006/07Ajax 2 (Carelse, Fanteni) Pirates 1 (Masehe)Pirates 0 Ajax 0

2007/08Pirates 2 (Chenene, Lekgwathi) Ajax 1 (Fanteni)