Sparks to fly in semis
ORLANDO Pirates and Supersport United have engaged in a game of daring and double daring each other as they head into their MTN8 showdown this weekend.
The Buccaneers, beaten just once last season at home, have vowed to slay the Tshwane side when the two battle it out for a place in the MTN8 final at Orlando stadium on Saturday (7.30pm).
On the other hand, United have promised to turn the Bucs "slaughterhouse" into a kids' playground and put cracks in the Buccaneers' "invincible" empire.
"They are coming to the slaughterhouse and you know what happens there," said Bucs captain Lucky Lekgwathi. "United might have been difficult to beat recently but they won't come out alive tomorrow. We've improved a lot from the last two games."
United vice-captain Davies Nkausu is usually a reserved character, but not this time.
"They [Bucs] might have the home-ground advantage, but we also have advantage since we didn't concede in the first leg. They say it's a slaughterhouse but we've beaten them there before and we will do it again," he retorted.
The sides, however, are quite aware that the tough talk will have to be matched with improved performances, not least after they played to a goalless draw in the first leg.
Nothing much could be read from their goalless midweek league match, though there were some excellent displays from the goalkeepers.
But the unpredictable format of knockout matches means that away-goal advantage might count for little for United, taking into account the invincible nature of the Buccaneers in cup competitions.
Meanwhile, both Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns believe the side that can maintain its attacking form, but tighten up on a leaky defence, will winthe second-leg match at Dobsonville stadium on Sunday.
In a 3-3 first-leg draw at Lucas Moripe stadium on Saturday night, both sides could claim they would have been the winner had they not conceded soft goals.
Downs perhaps controlled more of the game in attack, and spurned numerous chances in between scoring three goals. Swallows were dangerous on the counter-attack and took their chances.
The Brazilians' goalkeeper, Wayne Sandilands, has a theory about how to keep the Birds' at bay.
"With Swallows, what we've got to do is make sure we're really organised, even when we have the ball," Sandilands said, "because they like to counter-attack. They're not a team that likes to build slowly - one or two touches and they're already in your half.
"With their pacey attack there's no way you can play a flat line because they will always put those balls behind you. We'll work at it - we've played them now and know better what to expect."
Teko Modise said the Brazilians feel that they have an obligation to their fans to try to win a trophy for the first time in six seasons.
"It's tiring to always say we will, we will, and the next thing is that we don't deliver," he said.
"If other teams can do it with less quality than we have, then clearly there's a problem with us as players.
"We looked at that and are trying to solve it, and it's slowly starting to show in our games."