Free State Stars and SuperSport United will be aiming to return to winning ways in the Absa Premiership when they go head-to-head at Goble Park Stadium in Bethlehem on Wednesday evening.
Kick-off is at 7:30pm.
Ea Lla Koto suffered a 3-0 derby hammering to rivals Bloemfontein Celtic last time out, with the loss the club’s biggest defeat of the season. The result brought an end to a three-game unbeaten streak for the club.
The Free State club might have managed just two wins from six matches as hosts this campaign, but they have performed particularly well on their home patch in recent times – claiming eight points from a possible 12, including wins over Ajax Cape Town and Golden Arrows.
SuperSport played to a second successive draw as they held Cape Town City to a 1-1 stalemate in the Mpumalanga province this past weekend.Azubike Egwuekwe scored a stoppage-time equalizer for the Tshwane giants to salvage a share of the spoils for Eric Tinkler’s troops.
Matsatsantsa have played just two away matches so far this season due to their involvement in the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup: a 2-1 win at Kaizer Chiefs back in August and a goalless stalemate with Orlando Pirates earlier this month.
In head-to-head stats, Stars and SuperSport have met in 42 league matches since 1991. Matsatsantsa have claimed 14 wins compared to nine for Ea Lla Koto, while 18 matches have been drawn. The Free State side, currently coached by Belgium national Luc Eymael, has won six of their 21 home matches against United, suffering five defeats in the process.
Last season the teams played out two goalless stalemates in their league meetings. In fact, four of the last five matches between these sides have been drawn, while the last 360 minutes of league football between United and Stars have produced just one single goal.
Predicted Starting XI
Free State Stars: Sangare, Mashego, Mobbie, Keita, Phungwayo, Masehe, Vilakazi, Jantjie, Dlamini,Venter, Anas.
SuperSport United: Pieterse, Nhlapo, Egwuekwe, Daniels, Boateng, Furman, Letsholonyane, Modiba, Phala, Brockie, Grobler.
LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS
Season Result Scorers
2012/13 SuperSport 0-0 Stars
2012/13 Stars 1-1 SuperSport Masehe; Doutie
2013/14 SuperSport 4-1 Stars Niang 2 (1 pen), Chenene, Doutie; Bobe
2013/14 Stars 1-2 SuperSport Abraw; Mkhabela, Thlone (og)
2014/15 Stars 3-2 SuperSport Moloi (og) Dacosta, Bester; Phala, Wome
2014/15 SuperSport 2-2 Stars Nkhatha, Phala; Thethani, Somaeb
2015/16 Stars 0-0 SuperSport
2015/16 SuperSport 1-0 Stars Nkhatha
2016/17 SuperSport 0-0 Stars
2016/17 Stars 0-0 SuperSport
LEAGUE RECORD (since 1991)
P W D L GF GA
Stars 21 6 10 5 25 20
SuperSport 21 9 9 3 34 20
P W D L GF GA
Stars 21 3 9 9 20 34
SuperSport 21 5 10 6 20 25
P W D L GF GA
Stars 42 9 19 14 45 54
SuperSport 42 14 19 9 54 45
What the teams are saying
Free State Stars head coach Luc Eymael:
“The game against Celtic was a complete disaster, the team didn’t come to the party. It’s a shame,” said Eymael.
“It’s true that I would like to be in top eight, but to be always going up and down the log table, it’s disappointing you know. You draw one game, you lose one game, you win… I don’t understand.
“It has never happened to me in my career. But let’s try to focus in the last two games. We have to recover for our next game against SuperSport United.”
SuperSport United head coach Eric Tinkler:
“We set our standards high, so we can’t be happy with a point against Cape Town City. I still feel as though it’s a loss,” said Tinkler.
“The approach has to be to win all our games. But we have to realise there’s a lot of sacrifice we need to put in until the 21st of December.
“I can see some players are not entirely focused. We have to get the focus back, where it needs to be. We have to collect maximum points from the games remaining in 2017.”
Key players for Free State Stars
Badra Ali Sangare: The Ea Lla Koto goalkeeper will be called upon to keep out a potent Matsatsantsa attack that have at times this season torn teams apart. Having failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six games, Stars are guilty of leaking goals on a regular occasion – the Ivorian shot-stopper will be desperate to bring that run to an end.
Paulus Masehe: The Stars stalwart was a beacon of light in what was a dismal performance against Siwelele. His leadership will be called upon as the club aim to get back on track against a SuperSport side breathing down their neck on the log standings.
Key players for SuperSport United
Aubrey Modiba: The versatile fullback has established himself as a key member of the Matsatsantsa squad with his ability to get forward and into good goal-scoring positions a rare trait. Tinkler will be hoping for more of the same as SuperSport set their sights on all three points.
Dean Furman: One of the hardest working midfielders in the country, the SuperSport skipper’s role is often undervalued. Key to breaking down attacking plays, focus will be on the Bafana Bafana international to lead United back on track as they aim to climb the table before the Christmas break.