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Double derby delight

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Derby clashes: Expected to thrill

Derby clashes: Expected to thrill

With all the key ingredients required to dish up a feast of football, this weekend's derby action promises to be a treat.

First up will be Saturday's tantalising Soweto derby date between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium.

Considered one of the most fiercely contested matches in African football, the much-anticipated fixture was first played on January 24, 1970.

Since then there has been 53 other encounters in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era alone, Chiefs edging their bitter rivals 22 to 12 in the overall winning stakes, with the remaining 19 having ended in draws.

Pirates, however, claimed recent bragging rights when they beat their neighbouring foes in March to retain the Carling Black Label Cup trophy.

Saturday's clash also couldn't be more influential on the 2012/13 campaign, with Amakhosi heading into the tie top of the PSL table with 30 points.

Stuart Baxter's side have been in sensational form in the PSL this term, winning nine of their 13 matches played, with one loss, as they desperately look to end a four-year wait to once again achieve title glory.

It has also been two years since any real silverware has graced the cabinet at Naturana, much to Chiefs' faithful fans' dismay.

Meanwhile, the Sea Robbers have sailed the high seas, their escapades last term having ended in a historic back-to-back treble-winning voyage.

The Buccaneers currently trail the Glamour Boys by just three points, with Roger de Sa's men hell-bent on pulling level as they set their sights on a third successive league-winning season.

Over in England it's much the same, as Sunday's mouth-watering Manchester derby in Eastlands could potentially have a telling effect on the fate of the Premier League crown.

City, who pipped United last term to claim their first title in 44 years, head into the weekend's clash also only three points adrift of their rivals at the summit.

An once almost-guaranteed victory for the Red Devils - they've won 60 of the 75 times the two sides have met since 1881 - has taken on a radical turn since an Abu Dhabi-based investment group's cash injection at the Etihad Stadium in 2008.

However, the star-studded Citizens have looked a shadow of the all-conquering outfit from a season's past as they battle to dominate domestic opposition.

Their failure to once again progress to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League has also seen Roberto Mancini's management questioned.

This, amid speculation former Barcelona supremo Pep Guardiola is poised to swoop in and replace the Italian tactician.

The Red Devils, on the otherhand, have steadily climbed to the top of the pile in the English top-flight this term, as well as having easily qualified for the knock-out stages in Europe.

Sir Alex Ferguson's troops have, for the most part, been ruthless on attack, but worryingly shaky at the back, the 19-time English champions having regularly had to come from behind to rescue a match after leaking an early goal.

But coupled with last term's demoralising 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford, and having to watch on trophyless as the "noisy neighbours" stole the limelight, United's fiery desire to exact some revenge will definitely be flaming bright.

So, whether you'll be parading your skull-and-crossbones with the Ghost at Soccer City, or straining your voice-box to drown out the chants of "the Boys in Blue will never give in", remember to savour the sweet taste of derby satisfaction.

By Devin Hermanus

Posted: 06/12/12 17:01

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