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SA SOCCER NEWS

Big Test For Palacios

31/10/03

Pirates caretaker coach Augusto Palacios will face a stern test of his managerial credentials when the Buccaneers clash with Santos in Castle Premiership fixture in Cape Town.

Ajax Cape Town have said that when they meet Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, they will be out to avenge Santos' controversial exit from the Coca-Cola Cup at the hands of the Amakhosi.

On the same day the People's Team will have the chance to defeat the other Soweto Giants, Orlando Pirates, when the two teams clash at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday afternoon. (Kick off is at 16.00)

This is a match that both sides will want to win, for different reasons. Santos have a knack of knocking over the big guns, and after their cup disappointment when they were beaten by a controversial goal, they will want to maintain their place in the top five.

Pirates need to get their season back on track after a poor start. They will want to show that there is life after Roy Baretto, and know that the best way of doing this, is beating Santos.

Key players:

Santos: Jean-Marc Ithier - this is destined to be his final season in the top flight, and he will want to end it with a bang! His ability in the air is almost unmatched and causes defenders many problems with his knockdowns. He is underrated with his skill on the ball but give him space in and around the box then he will punish you with his powerful and normally accurate shooting.

Pirates: Benedict Vilakazi - The little midfield star is back after a long injury. He will make a major difference, as he will likely be given the freedom to play his normal game which allows him to drift. Vilakazi needs a good few matches to get back into the national squad. He could be the man that makes the difference on the day for Pirates.

The coaches:

Santos: Boebie Solomons - has come through two early tests well on his own. Many believe that this is the season which will either make or break his coaching career. Has shown a willingness to make brave decisions and his techinal ability and knowledge is almost unmatched in the whole country.

Pirates: Augusto Palacios - The Peruvian is likely to be the stand-in coach till a permanent replacement is found. Palacios has the ability to get the best out of the Pirates players, and knows them inside out as he was the man that introduced most of them to top class soccer.


Leading scorers:

Santos: Marawaan Bantam 3 (PSL)

Pirates: James Mothibi 3 (2 PSL, 1 Coke)

Last season:

Pirates: 1st    

Santos: 9th  

Last five results:

Santos:

10/09 Moroka Swallows (A)  PSL 0-2

13/09 Silver Stars (H) PSL 1-0 (Burton 42)

21/09 Black Leopards (H) PSL 2-1 (Ithier 42, Bantam 89)

28/09 Zulu Royals (A) PSL 2-2 (Ithier 41, Bax 83)

04/10 Kaizer Chiefs (H) Coke 0-1

Pirates:

10/09 Zulu Royals (H) PSL 1-0 (Lekoelea 63)

13/09 Manning Rangers (H) PSL 1-1 (Mothibi 17 pen)

20/09 Dynamos (A) PSL 2-0 (Thomelang 8, S Mazibuko 74)

27/09 Silver Stars (H) PSL 1-1 (Mothibi 80 pen)

19/10 Manning Rangers (A) Coke1-2 (Mothibi 30 pen)

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