Vasco seek a winning end to the year
VASCO DA GAMA will be out to exact revenge when they take on Dynamos in a national First Division encounter at Parow Park today (kick-off 3.30pm).
The two sides met in the first round, with Dynamos extracting a 2- 1 win. Vasco coach Tony de Nobrega pointed to a couple of external factors as the reason for the defeat, specifically the heat which caused havoc with his players in the second half after they had held a 1-0 half-time lead.
Vasco have gone on to become a force to be reckoned with and through 14 rounds are the league’s leading goal-scorers. They’ve also won eight times, the second most wins behind Blackburn Rovers’ nine. The Cape outfit sits in fourth place on the 16- team log, with Dynamos (six wins) five points adrift in eighth place.
Vasco’s strong home record over the years should once again be hard to crack despite the fact that they’ve had their colours lowered in a shock 3-1 derby defeat to cross-field rivals FC Cape Town.
Since then they’ve won three of their next four starts and drawn the other, placing them just four points behind the unbeaten co-leading duo of Pretoria University and Thanda Royal Zulu.
“I’m hoping the boys will deliver a positive return following our 2-1 home defeat to lowly league rivals United FC in the preliminary round of the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday,” said De Nobrega. “We had that game in the bag before surrendering in extra time.
“But our loss, while disappointing, means we can focus our efforts on the league. It will be a tough assignment against an opponent that has consistently got better through the rounds. It is important for us to close out the year with a win so as to keep the pressure on the front three. The players can sense the prospects of a top three finish and a tilt at the promotional play-offs. That’s still a way to go four us (16 games), but I’m confident we are on the right track.”
The Cape’s other two NFD teams, Chippa United (fifth place) and FC Cape Town (ninth), take on Sivutsa Stars and Atlie FC respectively. Chippa’s home form is exemplary, but their away form the exact opposite. In fact, Chippa, who have won their last six home games on the trot (six wins overall), haven’t a single win away from the Philippi Stadium, their record currently standing at four defeats and three draws.
So it will be interesting to see whether Chippa, who were stunned 2-0 at home by Stars, can turn things around against their fellow newcomers to the NFD.
FC Cape Town take on Atlie FC at the NNK Stadium tomorrow, looking to bounce back after a 2-0 defeat away to Thanda. It sees coach Josef Vukusic’s team slip out of the top five to ninth on the standings (20 points), but still very much in touch of the play-off zone.
They should carry too many guns for their opponents.