Derby a must-win for Pirates – Palacios

2012-03-16 10:13

Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Augusto Palacios knows he needs to win tomorrow’s derby against Kaizer Chiefs in order to win the hearts of his supporters.

The much-anticipated Soweto Derby takes place at the FNB Stadium tomorrow at 3.30pm.

Palacios got a rude welcome from Santos on Wednesday with a 3-0 drubbing, but he knows a victory over their arch-rivals will go a long way to appease the hard-to-please Bucs supporters.

The coach said his team needed to improve drastically if they are to retain the Absa Premiership title.

“I don’t have enough time with the players to change many things, but I am happy with what I have seen so far. But we need to improve if we are to retain our title,” said Palacios.

Pirates have been blowing hot and cold and the suspension of coach Julio Leal this week signalled a team in disarray.

But Pirates are not far off the pace as they are third on the table, on the same number of points with second-placed Chiefs.

Victory for Pirates will see them leap-frog Chiefs into the second spot and narrow the gap between themselves and log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Although they lost to Santos on Wednesday, form does not count much in derby matches as neither side wants to lose.

Chiefs, who have not played in a fortnight after their midweek game against Ajax Cape Town was rescheduled, go into the game as favourites.

But their lack of action in the past two weeks might work against them.

They were dealt a blow this week when their reliable defender Thomas Sweswe was ruled out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a knee injury.

But Amakhosi will welcome back industrious midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Pirates will once again pin their hopes on Benni McCarthy, who will be playing in his first Soweto Derby.

McCarthy has done well since he joined Pirates at the beginning of the season and he is their top scorer with five goals and will need special attention.

The capacity crowd which is expected to fill the stadium tomorrow should expect nothing but fireworks as the two teams want the bragging rights.

Other fixtures:
Bidvest Wits vs Free State Stars (Bidvest Stadium, 3.30pm); Golden Arrows vs Maritzburg United (King Zwelithini, 6pm); Ajax vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Newlands, 6pm); Moroka Swallows vs AmaZulu (Dobsonville Stadium, 8pm); SuperSport United vs Jomo Cosmos (Peter Mokaba, 8.15pm)

Sunday: Black Leopards vs Platinum Stars (Giyani Stadium, 3.30pm); Bloemfontein Celtic vs Santos (Seisa Ramabodu, 3.30pm)

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