Santos have backs against wall

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Kick off is at 15h30.

The People’s Team has won just once this season, away to Golden Arrows on October 31, and are in desperate need of a win to ease the growing strain on coach Jean-Marc Ithier.

The hosts are yet to win in Cape Town this season, a strange fact for a team that had one of the best home records in the League last term, losing just three of their 15 matches. Yet Ithier will look at Celtic’s recent form and fancy his chances of taking three points off Phunya Sele Sele.

Another fact that could give the Mauritian mentor hope is the fact that in the 14 times that the two sides have met over the past 10 seasons, Santos has won five times compared to Celtics’ four. There have also been five draws between the two sides.

Khabo Zondo’s side may sit in a lofty third place, but just a single win and only two goals scored in their last five League games have left them trailing leaders Ajax Cape Town by six points.

After their strong start to the season, Celtic are in the middle of a difficult patch and it will be interesting to see how Zondo and his young team react to their recent difficulties.

Just last week they lost 2-0 to BidVest Wits in a match that saw Keamogetse Wolff sent off after just six minutes. Celtic created enough chances in that match to secure at least a point, only to succumb to their relentless, numerically advantaged opponents.

Yet Santos, if they are to capitalise on Celtic’s recent slump, will need to give a far better performance than their last outing, a 2-0 home reverse to Thanda Royal Zulu FC where the People’s Team looked uninspired and listless.

The Cape side took four points off Celtic last season, winning 1-0 at home before drawing 2-2 in Bloemfontein.

1997/98Celtic 4 (Gulwa, Nechironga, Vries, Kabanga) Santos 2 (Mqobongo, Stober)Santos 2 (Stober, Philander) Celtic 0

1998/99Santos 1 (Mbidzo) Celtic 1 (Nikane)Celtic 0 Santos 0

1999/2000Santos 2 (Philander, Mbidzo) Celtic 1 (Maji)Celtic 4 (Matsau, Kotoane, Vries, Kukame) Santos 2 (Mabeta, Ithier)

2000/01Celtic 0 Santos 2 (Ithier 2)Santos 1 (Booysen) Celtic 1 (A.Arendse (og))

2004/05Celtic 3 (Tlomelang, Sofiadellis, Chabalala) Santos 1 (C.Scott)Santos 2 (C.Scott, Otieno (pen)) Celtic 0

2005/06Santos 1 (Lakay) Celtic 2 (Spandeel Kilambe)Celtic 3 (Spandeel, Maduka 2) Santos 3 (C.Scott, Selolwane 2 (1 pen))

2006/07Santos 1 (Bantam) Celtic 0Celtic 2 (Spandeel, Mahlatsi) Santos 2 (Mathopa, Isaacs)