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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Palace gamble on Kaviedes
By Tim Vickery

Crystal Palace have signed striker Ivan Kaviedes. And the Barcelona of Ecuador forward is a player I will never forget.

I was in Quito nearly three years ago for the biggest game in Ecuador's history.

They only needed a draw at home to Uruguay to qualify for their first ever World Cup.

For some reason I was given a photographer's accreditation, so I watched the game from behind the goal that Ecuador were attacking - badly.

The hosts were nervous, and soon went a goal down. Move after move broke down at the feet of Kaviedes.

"He's done absolutely nothing," cried an official from the Ecuador FA who was standing next to me, and we agreed that coach Gomez should think about a substitution.

There were less than 20 minutes to go.

Then Alex Aguinaga crossed from the right and Kaviedes jumped to head Ecuador into the World Cup finals.

It was a performance that summed up the enigmatic striker. He can frequently leave you wondering if he is deceptively casual, or just plain casual.

So often he infuriates more than delights - but when he gets it right he is pure talent, subtle of touch and stronger than he looks. I have my doubts about whether he will cope with the Premiership.

But no way will I be writing him off. Not after he clamped my mouth shut on that afternoon in Quito back in November 2001.

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