Palacios: Keeping calm heads in midst of euphoria

WITH his side now on pole position in the Absa Premiership log, Augusto Palacios is careful not to put the cart ahead of the horse.

Pirates replaced Mamelodi Sundowns at the summit of the log standings following two important moments last night. Sundowns lost their game to Platinum Stars while Pirates managed a hard-fought draw with rivals, Swallows in Soweto.

“We had no luck, we had so many chances and we could not score but this happens in football,” said Pirates coach Augusto Palacious.

“Bennie, TK, Oupa, they all had chances to score. We should have scored at least three in the first half,” he said of Benni McCarthy hitting the crossbar from a set-piece and Rantie missing from inside the big box.

“They played deep and made it difficult for us to play a one-two. So well done to them. Rantie is a young player and one for the future. He just needs some patience, he is making the chances, shooting, but not scoring tonight.”

Pirates are on 47 points, Mamelodi Sundowns on 46 and Swallows on 43 with five games to go and Palacious said he is not interested in how many points it takes to win the league; he just wants the team to win. Sundowns lost 2-1 to Platinum Stars in another league match played last night at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

“I am not looking at points, I want to win the next game and the next game and the next game, that is what is important,” he said.

Meanwhile four time league winning coach Gordon Igesund tried to hide his pleasure at getting a point out of the Original Soweto derby.

“They could have scored one, two or even three,” the former Pirates coach said. “We played better in the second half and I was pleased with that. We made a few chances but we did ride our luck today, you need that in this game and we got it tonight.”

Goalkeeper Greg Etafia made several good stops and when he was beaten the crossbar saved him, Igesund praised the Nigerian goalie.

“Greg did really well for us tonight, an outstanding game. Pirates certainly had chances to score but he stopped quite a few. We also missed Lefa Tsutsulupa today but we showed character and I am happy with the point,” the wily tactician said with a wry smile.

“We know of the Sundowns result and this definitely gives us a chance to challenge for the league title. The belief is there, it should be, I mean look at the table, and we are right up there.”

Meanwhile Black Leopards enhanced their chance to avoid relegation when they came from a 2-0 deficit to force a 2-2 draw away to Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium.

Stars took the lead as early as the 7th minute via a penalty kick which was converted by Kennedy Mweene before Zakari Morou could make it 2-0 in the 69th minute.

Lidoda Duvha however came back strongly late in the second half and scored two quickly goals via captain, Mongezi Bobe and Thabang Duiker in the 78th and referee’s optional time respectively.

The rest of yesterday’s results are: Santos 0 v SuperSport United 1, Jomo Cosmos 1 v Bloemfontein Celtic 2, AmaZulu 1 v Golden Arrows 0 and BidVest Wits 1 v Ajax Cape Town   

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