Vasco seek a win­ning end to the year

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

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.

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