Hard work not over: Palacios

2012-04-20 12:27
Augusto Palacios (Gallo)

Johannesburg - There is still a lot of work ahead for Premiership leaders Orlando Pirates, according to their Peruvian coach, Augusto Palacios.

The Soweto giants meet Wits at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening as they look to defend their title in the final stretch of the league marathon, with five matches remaining in the campaign.

“All I can say for now is that there's still a lot of work to be done," said Palacios.

"We have five games to go and will need to focus on one at a time.

"Hopefully we can hold our position until the end of the season."

Pirates, with 47 points after 25 games, hold a one-point lead over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns.

Only Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United have won back-to-back championships since the formation of the professional domestic league in 1985.

Palacios, however, said Pirates would need to convert more of their scoring chances if they were to maintain their lead at the top.

They created numerous opportunities in the 0-0 draw against third-placed Moroka Swallows in Dobsonville midweek.

“I think we had close to six clear chances to score but nothing came of it," Palacios said.

"Benni [McCarthy] had about three chances, the same with Tokelo [Rantie].

"But as a coach I am happy that we are creating scoring opportunities. It's a matter of working on the finishing."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Sundowns are away to Maritzburg United at their alternative venue of Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The Brazilians lost their stance at the top of the standings after going down 2-1 to Platinum Stars on Wednesday.

While Sundowns eliminated Maritzburg from the Nedbank Cup, the Team of Choice will be buoyed by their 1-0 league victory over Chiefs on Tuesday.

SuperSport United, in fourth place, host Ajax Cape Town in Polokwane, while Platinum Stars tackle Free State Stars in Rustenburg.

Log bottom Jomo Cosmos will go in in search of a vital three points against Golden Arrows in KwaMashu to aid them in their final attempts to escape relegation.

Should Ezenkosi lose, they will need to win at least four of their final five games of the campaign to stand a chance of avoiding the drop.

On Sunday, Chiefs, in fifth place with a game in hand, will look for a rare away win against strugglers Santos at Athlone Stadium.

The glamour side's campaign is turning into a nightmare following their sixth straight defeat earlier in the week.

"We need to turn the corner and very quickly," said Chiefs defender Dominic Isaacs.

"We cannot afford to drop any points now, and it has to start at Santos."

Meanwhile, fellow title contenders Swallows travel to Botshabelo to square up against Bloemfontein Celtic.

Black Leopards line up against AmaZulu in Giyani.



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