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Pirates on a high for big clash

Mon 13 Jan by Mark Gleeson

StoryOfWeek

While most of the Premier Soccer League clubs were struggling through a third game in seven days at the weekend, pushing the limits of their endurance through battling fatigue with little recovery time, Orlando Pirates were having a break.They started 2020 with a draw at Bloemfontein Celtic on 4 January and three days later swept aside Polokwane City 4-1 away.But they did not play this past weekend. Pirates were supposed to take on Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, but because of a change of schedule in the African Champions League, in which Sundowns are also competing, the Absa Premiership fixture between the clubs was postponed.It is now being played Wednesday night, when Sundowns will continue their taxing schedule and take to the field for the fourth time in the space of 11 days.Pirates on the other hand should pitch up suitably rested and fresh, and presumably on a high after the four goals they scored in their previous outing.The jury is still out on their new German coach Jozef Zinnbauer - Pirates have won two and drawn one since he arrived just before Christmas - but he does have a distinct advantage in terms of the conditioning of his team.Pirates are well behind log-leaders Kaizer Chiefs in the title race but it is, of course, a long way off being decided. Victory over Sundowns would be a major fillip for the Buccaneers and some odds are in their favour.Sundowns’ relentless programme of fixtures across several competitions has seen bountiful predictions of their imminent collapse. Yet they manage to keep up an extraordinary pace of work, overcoming most obstacles in their path. Those waiting for them to implode have given up and now instead marvel at their relentless.Sundowns go into Wednesday`s match at the Orlando Stadium unbeaten in their last 12 outings and having secured their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.Bidvest Wits take on tricky Bloemfontein Celtic at home in another catch-up game, having just got back from a weekend jaunt to Egypt.

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