Orlando Pirates faces a daunting task when they resume their CAF Champions League campaign on Friday against Jwaneng Galaxy from Botswana.
The crucial second leg of the second preliminary round will be played at Orlando Stadium.
The Buccaneers head into this fixture at a slight disadvantage after suffering a 1-0 defeat in the away leg.
In the past week, Orlando Pirates have been in action twice domestically, narrowly losing both matches against Mamelodi Sundowns and Stellenbosch respectively.
On the other side of the pitch, Jwaneng Galaxy is likely to be more well-rested, having enjoyed a 12-day break between fixtures.
Their Botswana Premier League title defence begins in October, and despite the disruption caused by the Caf Champions League preliminary rounds, they have shown no signs of rustiness, having advanced to this stage by doing enough in their home leg against Uganda’s Vipers, despite a defeat in the second leg.
Both teams are expected to make changes to their lineups for this upcoming clash. Jwaneng Galaxy may see the return of midfielder Dynamo Fredericks, who was sidelined in the first leg.
Meanwhile, Orlando Pirates might include veteran midfielder Thabang Monare, defender Nkosinathi Sibisi, and striker Evidence Makgopa, who could make his Champions League debut.
In the visitors’ camp, a strong defensive effort will be crucial, with goalkeeper Ryan Brown playing a pivotal role as the last line of defence. Brown showcased his skills in the first leg by making vital saves to keep the Buccaneers at bay.
The offensive threat from right winger Daniel Msendami, who scored in the first leg, is expected to continue alongside Omaatla Kebatho and Thabang Sesinyi.
Kitso Mangolo’s energetic presence on the flank will further bolster Jwaneng’s attacking efforts.
Jwaneng Galaxy’s victory in the first leg was their first-ever win against Orlando Pirates in three attempts.
A similar result on Friday would not only propel them to the next round but also level the head-to-head results between the two teams.
In a previous encounter in the CAF Confederation Cup, Orlando Pirates emerged victorious over two legs, securing a 3-0 win in the away leg before closing out the tie with a 1-0 victory at the Orlando Stadium.