The two teams have met nine times in League matches and drawn six of these clashes, so it is bound to be close again.
Just over two months after beating Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 and being touted as possible title winners in waiting, Pirates have simply imploded. Just one win in their next nine league and cup games have put to bed any hopes of winning silverware this season.
Their latest setback came last Wednesday evening away to Ajax Cape Town, where the Buccaneers lost 2-0 to the determined, championship-chasing Urban Warriors.
Pirates have suffered an unfortunate number of injuries and suspensions, leaving Da Gama with a selection dilemma nearly every game but, to his credit, the coach himself will never use that as an excuse for his players’ below-par performances.
Midfielder Teko Modise is out of tonight’s game and could also miss Bucs’ next match, the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs, due to a foot injury.
Modise, who has been in sparkling form this season, has confirmed that he will definitely miss the game against Stars, but is crossing his fingers that he will be back in action for the derby in Mafikeng on May 10.
“I am definitely out against Platinum Stars and I am not sure whether I will be back in time for the game against Chiefs.
“The physio is working hard on my foot and depending how I progress, I could be available for the game against Chief,” he tells snl24.com/kickoff.
Another doubtful starter tonight is midfielder Lebohang Mokoena, who has been down with a bout of flu since the weekend.
Stars’ coach Miguel Gamondi will be facing the Tycoons’ former mentor Da Gama for the first time since he took over Stars from Allan Freeze and Thierry Mulonzo, who played to a draw with Pirates during the first leg in Rustenburg.
A week ago they defeated Pirates’ fellow Soweto giants Moroka Swallows 1-0, and they will hope to do the same to Bucs tonight.
However, the Tycoons have not beaten Pirates in a league game since their promotion to the PSL in 2003/04. The Buccaneers have won three of the nine matches, the other six ending in draws.
Pirates:Date H/A Opponent Result23/04/08 A Ajax Cape Town L 0-212/04/08 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 0-0
Stars:21/04/08 H Moroka Swallows W 1-016/04/08 A BidVest Wits W 2-113/04/08 A AmaZulu D 0-019/03/08 A Ajax Cape Town D 1-121/03/08 A Bloemfontein Celtic W 2-0
HEAD TO HEAD STATS:League meetings since 2003/04:
2003/04:Pirates 1 (Mothibi) Stars 1 (Nkosi)Stars 2 (Mkhize (pen), Masanabo) Pirates 2 (Phakathi, Netshiozwe)
2004/05:Stars 0 Pirates 2 (Manenzhe, Dinha (pen))Pirates 2 (Lekoelea, Mutapa) Stars 1(Ngobeni)
2005/06:Stars 2 (Lekgwathi (og), Khanye) Pirates 2 (Mutape, Mathe)Pirates 1 (Nomvete) Stars 1 (Studzinski)
2006/07:Stars 0 Pirates 0Pirates 2 (Tefera, Mashehe) Stars 0
2007/08:Stars 1 (Masanabo) Pirates 1 (Walaza)